Beckham and PSG deserve little credit for charity PR stunt
Published: 07.02.13 / Written by: David Gold
One of the more ‘heartwarming’ moments of the transfer deadline day drama was the news that David Beckham’s salary at Paris St Germain would be donated to a local charity.
"Obviously, it's a very good figure," Beckham says. "Like I said, that's one thing we're very excited about, to be able to give a huge sum to a children's charity in Paris. It's special."
Certainly you cannot knock a man for giving to charity, particularly a sizeable figure. It cannot be made out to be anything but a good thing. However, did we all need to know? Does Beckham, a man who has earned tens of millions throughout his career, really think this is such a generous gesture? Is it really more notable than the average man or woman donating to a friend’s Just Giving page for a sponsored run they are doing? When the man next door gives a cancer research charity £50, it is a sum which, as a proportion of his overall wealth, is probably not far off the proportion of Beckham’s wealth that he is donating.
So how generous is this really? And it certainly helps the club to avoid paying any tax on Beckham’s salary, seeing as it is going to charity. So in conclusion, Beckham and Paris St Germain deserve a well done for an undoubtedly good charitable gesture, but no more of a well done than your average man or woman making the average donation to any cause.
Charity aside, Beckham’s move was certainly well timed. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star has been free to sign for a team for the last two months, and as he was available for free could have moved anywhere today, tomorrow or in the weeks and months to come. To choose transfer deadline day to make the announcement seemed an intentional exploitation of the media spotlight.
On the pitch, Beckham may still have something to offer. His old Manchester United team mates, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, are still going at an even older age at the Premier League leaders. Beckham has not been at the same level of intensity in terms of football and certainly Scholes and Giggs have seen their powers decline, but if the Englishman gets his fitness back he can certainly still contribute. He is a model professional, a man whose attitude has always been first class. In that, he is forgiven a publicity stunt or two because he is a model professional and footballer.
Yet from Paris St Germain’s point of view, this is surely about profile rather than performance. It is hard to see Beckham dislodging Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti or Blaise Matuidi from the Paris St Germain midfield. He can be a useful substitute perhaps, but first team opportunities will probably be limited. Beckham will certainly have pulses racing at the marketing department, where he should generate huge interest and money for the club. Beckham is a worldwide icon, and can help the club exploit markets in the Far East and beyond where they are looking to reach new audiences.
So the Beckham soap opera rolls on for five more months. Will a great career have a suitably glorious end?