Football

Beckham's spokesman: Leaked e-mails are hacked and doctored

David Beckham's squeaky-clean image as a British cultural icon has taken a battering, following the leaking of expletive-strewn e-mails in which he apparently raged about not receiving a knighthood.

The former England football captain is said to have sworn in e-mails to his PR team after being told he would not be made "Sir David" by Queen Elizabeth II because of concerns about his tax affairs.

A spokesman for Beckham said the e-mails, released by the Football Leaks website, were "hacked and doctored" to give a "deliberately inaccurate picture".

But there has been a backlash against the 41-year-old from sections of Britain's tabloid media.

Monday's Daily Mail spoke of the "Shame of Saint Becks", with a columnist pronouncing him "a foul-mouthed, determined egotist" who had used charity work as part of an "increasingly desperate" bid for a knighthood.

BECKHAM REMAINS MUM

Reports which emerged last Friday said the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star refused to put his own money into his humanitarian 7 Fund and tried to obtain reimbursement from the UN children's agency Unicef for expenses met by his sponsors.

Beckham has not spoken publicly since the story broke, although he was pictured cradling his five-year-old daughter Harper on the Instagram account of his son, Brooklyn.

Cynics said that was a crass attempt to show his best, fatherly side at a time of bad headlines.

Beckham received an OBE from the Queen in 2003, a lower honour than a knighthood, while his wife also received an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list. - AFP

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