David Beckham is currently the happiest man on earth as he has signed a £180 million sponsorship deal with Qatar for his new MLS football club Inter Miami. The former footballer had shown the club’s stadium undergoing construction on social media earlier in the month.
FutballNews reports that the deal was concluded two weeks ago following weeks of secret negotiations between the Arab state and the former Manchester United winger alongside his agent David Gardner. It was reported that the deal will see the Qatar name branded around the Lockhart Stadium in Miami, Florida and will also be brandished on the football club’s kit and merchandise.
According to the Sun, the main reason behind the deal is to help Qatar drive its investments overseas and to change the image of the Arab state abroad. The state’s charitable trust, Qatar Foundation was the former shirt sponsor of Barcelona for two seasons before leaving. The shirt sponsorship contract with the Spanish giants was worth £125m.
A source told the newspaper: “This deal wipes the floor with previous sponsorship deals. Becks and his agent David Gardner have been incredibly hands-on, determined to get the best terms possible.
“Qatar is keen to drive investments overseas to improve and soften its image. Miami and the Beckham brand fits perfectly with this.”
Human rights groups have condemned Qatar for ignoring allegations of corruption and human rights abuses, which the state said it is working to relax its stance on such issues. The state has also been slammed for allegedly arresting and prosecuting homosexuals.
Inter Miami makes its MLS debut against the Los Angeles FC away on March 1. The club then travel to Washington a week later to take on DC United. Their first home game is on March 14 when they take on Beckham’s former club of six years, Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Miami club will play their home games for the next two years at the Lockhart Stadium. After two years, the facility, which used to be the home to the Fort Lauderdale Striker, will be converted into a training center and academy base. It will then be used to host lower-tier football teams in America.
Inter Miami is expected to move to another facility in Miami. In Miami, a 25,000 seater awaits in Miami Freedom Park. It is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2022. The facility will feature hotels, restaurants, shops, a four-story parking garage, and a state of the art training facility upon completion.
But until the project is completed, Inter Miami has been granted permission by the MLS to play their first two matches away.
FutballNews understands that Beckham’s club could change their name if they lose a legal dispute with Inter Milan. The Italian side sued the MLS newcomers for trademark infringement, claiming the term “Inter” is synonymous with them and no one else.