Gary Lineker has declared that he would never accept a multi-million pound payout to promote the Qatar World Cup after David Beckham came under fire for pocketing £150million to become a cultural ambassador for the country last month. The latter is expected to serve as the face of the tournament between now and its start date after sealing a ten-year agreement with the nation to promote its tourism and culture.
The honour of hosting next year’s World Cup was controversially awarded to Qatar back in 2010, with the competition set to be played in the winter months due to the extreme summer heat.
The country has also been widely criticised for its poor human rights record, attitude towards women and draconian laws on homosexuality since the decision was made.
Lineker has previously spoken out against the Middle Eastern nation but will be present at the next World Cup to cover proceedings for the BBC.
He has often been accused of hypocrisy as a result, but is adamant that he will only be in attendance due to work and would never accept a fee to promote Qatar in the way that Beckham has.
“I get this all the time,” Lineker told The Sun. “‘So you’re not going to go then?’ I’ve got to go because it’s my job.
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“News reporters go, so why am I not allowed to? You don’t have to agree, and I vehemently disagree with the regime, and I’m not going there to cheer it on.
“I’m not a supporter. We know it was a corrupt bid. We shouldn’t be there, but it is there, and I’ll go and report on it from there.
“Will I support the Qatar World Cup in a sense of all that? No, because they’ve got too many fundamental human rights wrong. I’m aware of all that.
“Will I do stuff for Qatar in the World Cup? Absolutely not. Whatever they wanted to pay me the answer would be no.
“But I will go there and report the World Cup for the BBC.”
When quizzed directly on Beckham’s new role as Qatar’s cultural ambassador, Lineker insisted that he would refuse to take any payment to promote a regime that he does not support.
However, he went on to declare that he does not think any less of Beckham for his decision, explaining that such a fee would be difficult for most people to turn down.
“It’s not something I would have done, but it’s his business,” added Lineker.
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“I’m not a judgmental person. How many people would turn down £150m? The figure would be very, very few.
“I wouldn’t do it, and I mean that. But he’s a business person. He’s done really well, he’s a nice guy, and he’s been very successful.”
Beckham has close ties with Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari president of Paris Saint-Germain, dating back to the former’s playing days in the French capital.
A spokesperson for the former England playmaker recently told The Sun: “David has always talked about the power of football as a force for good on many levels.
“As we reach the one year to go point he will join the wider football community that is coming together for the World Cup 2022 and he’s looking forward to what he thinks will be a great tournament.”