So David Beckham will finally get what he always wanted and become the poster boy of a World Cup.
The achievement eluded him during his playing career, due to a combination of his own petulance and the fact he captained a team nowhere near good enough to win the biggest prize in football.
Beckham appeared at three World Cups, in 1998, 2002 and 2006, but the closest he got to lifting the famous trophy was reaching the quarter finals.
All this will change next winter though, when Beckham will be one of the star attractions at Qatar 2022. He will be there right until the bitter end.
The fact host nation Qatar has agreed to give Beckham a reported £150m, in return for him being an ambassador, means old 'Golden Balls' will be made to earn his corn.
How he chooses to do this, though, could well go on to define Beckham's reputation in terms of how he represents both the game itself and human race in general.
Amnesty International CEO Sacha Deshmukh said earlier this week, "It's not surprising that David Beckham wants to be involved in such a major football event, but we would urge him to learn about the deeply concerning human rights situation in Qatar and be prepared to speak out about it."
Let's be honest, Beckham doesn't need the dough, does he? His net worth is reported to be in excess of £400m.
But perhaps he has spotted the perfect chance to use his power and influence as a force for good, by highlighting the fact Qatar has a human rights record that is appalling, abhorrent and unimaginable in equal measure.
Is David Beckham right to accept £150m from Qatar? Let us know what you think here
It includes the longstanding mistreatment of migrant workers, including the failure to investigate thousands of deaths, the curbing of free speech and criminalisation of same-sex relations.
But thanks to disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in 14 months time this same regime will get the privilege of hosting the greatest show on turf and people like Beckham will get to promote a sporting spectacle that should never be held there in the first place.
The 'Brand Beckham' image is on the line and he needs to speak up loud and clear, using his profile to keep the focus on the issues surrounding what is happening off the pitch, more than what will be happening on it.
He has the chance to give the World Cup a fighting chance of leaving a positive legacy moving forward.
He has the chance of driving change for the better, because while some progress has been made in terms of new legislation in Qatar, the challenge still ahead is to make sure it is universally adopted.
Beckham has visited Qatar several times in recent years and is said to be confident the first World Cup to be held in a predominantly Muslim country will be genuine and sincere.
Would it be naive to think Beckham is thinking ahead and has a cunning plan up his sleeve? Perhaps.
But we will get to find out – and all we can do is hope that one of our modern footballing icons provides the right bang for his buck and reminds the world how much significant change needs to take place in a place that still has no moral compass.
Quinton de Kock shouldn't be forced to take the knee but we have to understand why people don't take a knee
Quinton de Kock is a grown man who is entitled to make his own decisions when it comes to taking the knee.
No-one should be forced to do something they don't want to do.
But at least the South African wicketkeeper has been made to explain his reasons for refusing to take part in the anti-racism gesture ahead of his side's T20 World Cup match against the West Indies.
He has since apologised, stating he was reacting to the surprise of being told what to do at such short notice, before insisting he is not a racist.
We have to take de Cock's word for that and believe him, but the proof will be in the pudding.
De Kock has refused to take a knee before after doing the same thing back in June, which begs the question, why didn't his bosses anticipate this scenario sooner than a few hours before the toss?
What de Kock has to realise is that by refusing to explain himself in the immediate aftermath, whether he likes it or not, people presume he is racist.
And the fact he just happens to come from South Africa, a nation with a long and troubled history of racial segregation, hasn't helped matters.
Understanding why people don't take a knee is probably more important than understanding the reasons why people actually do.
Education is the key to ridding the world of racism, but de Kock's refusal to join in the act of solidarity with his team-mates just leaves us with more questions than answers.
Source: Read Full Article