The director of the new David Beckham documentary has explained why comments the football star made about his support for last year’s World Cup in Qatar were cut, with Fisher Stevens surprisingly saying they’re ‘no longer relevant’.
The four-part series Netflix series Beckham follows David’s career with Manchester United as well as his relationship with wife Victoria.
It has been teased the series will ‘give fans never-before-seen insight into who Beckham actually is, including his family, friends, teammates, and his shopping and cleaning habits’.
While several controversial moments are discussed, including England’s infamous 1998 World Cup finals game against Argentina and his ‘affair’ with Rebecca Loos, any comments relating to his involvement in last year’s event in Qatar ended up being left out.
Director Fisher (Succession) explained the thinking behind not mentioning the controversy over David’s ambassadorship with Qatar.
Ahead of last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, David, 48, faced heavy criticism after he reportedly accepted a £10m ambassadorship with the country where homosexuality is illegal.
For many years prior, he had been seen as a prominent ally of the LGBTQ+ community, with his role even seeing comedian Joe Lycett threatening to shred £10,000 of his own money if Beckham didn’t cut ties with the tournament.
Stevens has said that whilst he and David spoke about the subject on camera and there were plans to put it in the finished documentary, he eventually decided against it.
‘It just felt kind of dated,’ he said.
‘Honestly, if I had another episode, we could have gotten into that.
‘But it just didn’t feel as relevant. When you’re talking about a guy’s 48 years, that was [just] a moment,’ he added when speaking to The Independent.
The filmmaker also spoke about David’s brief move to Qatari-owned French football club Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, which he described as a ‘complex thing’.
‘But that’s his life too, right? They talk s*** about him doing this and that and then they love him for doing [something else]. So who knows what’ll be the next thing?’ he added.
‘Maybe that’ll come out in the sequel. After all, this guy is only 48 years old. He’s still got a whole other one or two acts.’
At the premiere of the series in London this week, David claimed to have met gay people in Qatar who said they felt safer there than any other World Cup.
Speaking at the red carpet, he said he ‘knew there was going to be people who were going to either talk about it a little bit more or let the football do the talking. It was a great tournament, a lot of people were happy there.’
He went on to claim he ‘had a lot of conversations with the LBGTQ people, community when I was there, and they said they’ve been treated perfectly fine, they’d enjoyed the games.
‘They felt it was the safest World Cup they’d had for a long time. So no, at the end of the day it was an important competition and one I was proud to be part of.’
He insisted that he and his team ‘always do our homework on everything’ he is asked to be a part of, and ‘to be involved in another World Cup for me was important.’
Beckham is streaming on Netflix.
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