David Beckham is being accused of hypocrisy for supporting a gay footballer while accepting millions of pounds to be the face of the World Cup in Qatar where homosexuality is outlawed.
The retired footballer was slated by gay magazine Attitude for agreeing the deal after he backed Blackpool midfielder Jake Daniels, 17, for recently coming out.
It made him the UK’s first male professional footballer to reveal he was gay since the late Justin Fashanu, 37 in 1990.
An Instagram post from the Attitude account raged Beckham, 47, was “keeping his money just about as far as possible from where his mouth is”.
Beckham, dubbed Goldenballs and who has four children with former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, 48, was the cover star of a 2002 issue of Attitude.
He is thought to have been paid £10 million by the Qatari government to be the face of the World Cup this winter.
The brutal regime has been condemned by human rights campaigners for its anti-gay laws and treatment of women.
Beckham said after Daniels’ announcment: “It’s a shame that when someone does come out that it’s such a strange thing. I’ve always felt that way about when someone does come out, it shouldn’t be.
“At the end of the day there will be a huge amount of gay people in sports, and why should they be any different from anyone else?“
Attitude hit back at the former football right-winger, now co-owner of Inter Miami CF, by posting: “Beckham asks why gay people in sport should be any different to anyone else.
“One reason that David might consider is that in many places around the world queer people are not only marginalised and oppressed but also persecuted. One such place is Qatar, a country that he is about to become the face of.”
A spokesman for Attitude said: “Qatar is an extremely homophobic country where, under sharia law, men who have sexual relations with other men can be put to death. Other punishments include lifelong imprisonment and floggings.
“In April, a Qatari security official warned fans planning to travel out for the World Cup that rainbow flags )supporting the LGBTQ community) could be confiscated. Fans had previously been told this wouldn’t be the case.
The Mail on Sunday have reported Beckham’s associates claimed the former Manchester United player, who has an estimated net worth of £360 million, is satisfied human rights changes have been made in the Gulf state.