Shropshire Star

Comedian Joe Lycett criticises FA in wake of ‘shredding’ stunt

He previously gave David Beckham an ultimatum to pull out of his deal with World Cup hosts Qatar or he would destroy £10,000.

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Joe Lycett appears to shred £10,000

Joe Lycett has criticised the Football Association (FA), accusing it of “pretending to be allies of the LGBT community” until it becomes inconvenient.

The comedian, 34, said he had had “some conversations” with the English governing body after announcing a stunt in which he threated to destroy £10,000 of his own money unless David Beckham pulled out of his deal with World Cup hosts Qatar, where homosexuality is still illegal.

Last month, Lycett released a video which appeared to show him shredding the cash but later revealed it was a hoax and he had already donated the money to LGBTQ+ charities.

England v France – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Quarter Final – Al Bayt Stadium
An England fan sporting a David Beckham face mask at the World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

Speaking on Times Radio, the Birmingham-born stand-up and presenter admitted he “always knew” he would never hear from Beckham.

He said he was “trying to get hold of his number that week and just see if I could just ring him”.

But he added that “certain people get so famous” that “actually they don’t have a number, they just have people nearby who hold a phone for them and all that.

“I kind of knew I wouldn’t ever hear from him.”

Lycett said Beckham is “a perfect kind of emblem” of the way “a lot of brands particularly, and a lot of institutions, pretend to be allies of the LGBT community until it’s inconvenient for them”.

“And I would add the FA into that group actually,” he said.

“I had some conversations with the FA and they had sort of directed me to their statement about the One Love armband and how proud they were of all that.

“We know where we got to with that, don’t we?”

At the start of the contest, England and Wales, along with other European nations, announced they would not be wearing the anti-discrimination One Love rainbow armbands after governing body Fifa threatened sporting sanctions.

Lycett said: “I won’t attack any of the footballers and all that because actually they might never get to do a World Cup again and it’s their careers.

“I think fair play to them. They’re in a really tricky situation and I’m sure they’ve all got individual opinions on it.

“But I felt that David Beckham, he isn’t being paid by Fifa or the World Cup. He’s being paid by Qatar allegedly.”

Lycett previously said Beckham’s team had reached out to him about the stunt but that he was “not satisfied” with the discussions.

On Times Radio, he also referenced Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who mentioned the stunt during Prime Minister’s Questions, saying he “completely butchered” its description.

Dismissing the idea he might stand as a Labour MP, he said: “I noticed that Keir Starmer referred to me as ‘somebody’ in the House of Commons and then completely butchered what I’d done with the David Beckham stuff.

“That was funny.”

Representatives of Beckham and the FA have been contacted for comment.

Joe Lycett vs Beckham: Got Your Back at Xmas airs on Thursday December 15 at 9pm.