Beckham Director Explains Why Qatar Backlash Was Pulled From Final Edit Of Documentary

"David wasn’t apologetic about it, but he was very open to discussing it. And we did discuss it," said director Fisher Stevens.
David Beckham
David Beckham
Lia Toby via Getty Images

The director of David Beckham’s new Netflix documentary has addressed the decision not to include the backlash faced by the former footballer over his ambassador role during last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Earlier this week, the long-awaited four-part documentary Beckham began streaming on Netflix, covering numerous aspects of the former England striker’s career and personal life.

However, one aspect that was left on the cutting room floor was the heavy criticism David faced in 2022, when he accepted a role as an ambassador for Qatar during the football tournament, in a deal reported to have been worth more than £100,000.

The decision to hold the football tournament in Qatar was met with a backlash at the time due to the country’s human rights issues, particularly with regards to migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

David subsequently came under fire for accepting his ambassadorship role, which he previously addressed via a spokesperson after being publicly called out by comedian Joe Lycett.

While director Fisher Stevens confirmed that a conversation about the controversy was filmed, he ultimately chose not to include it in the final edit as it felt “kind of dated”.

Fisher Stevens
Fisher Stevens
Samir Hussein via Getty Images

“Honestly, if I had another episode, we could have gotten into that,” Fisher told The Independent. “But it just didn’t feel as relevant. When you’re talking about a guy’s 48 years, that was [just] a moment.”

He also made a similar remark to GQ, explaining: “We had it in the movie at one point, but I’ve got to say, it sort of dated the series. It’s like a train going to the end, just kind of going up.

“And then the controversy is complex, because he played at [Paris Saint Germain], and we tried to put it in the PSG section, and it just fell flat.

“We tried to fit it in a million ways. And David wasn’t apologetic about it, but he was very open to discussing it. And we did discuss it.

“And again it was like, in England it’s important, but in America, and a lot of parts of Europe, they don’t even know about it. So I had to make a decision.”

Although David does not address the matter in his new documentary, he was asked about it directly at its premiere on Tuesday night.

Sky News reported that after being asked if he had done his homework about what life is like for LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, David insisted: “I always do that.

“Let the football do the talking, it was a great tournament, a lot of people were happy.

“I had a lot of conversations with the LGBTQ community when I was there. They said they had enjoyed the games and they felt it was the safest World Cup they’d had for a long time, it was an important competition and one I was proud to be a part of.”

All four episodes of Beckham are available to stream now.


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