David Beckham Upsets Brits by Saying ‘Soccer’ in His BAFTAs Speech

David Beckham Upsets England for Saying Soccer BAFTA Awards
David Beckham Samir Hussein/WireImage

David Beckham referred to his beloved sport as both “soccer” and “football” at the 2024 British Academy Film Awards, which didn’t sit well with some English fans.

The retired athlete, 48, presented the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer in London on Sunday, February 18, while wearing a black tuxedo and bow tie.

During his speech, Beckham said, “They say that practice makes perfect. Well, that might be true in football — or soccer — but it’s not true for the filmmakers nominated for outstanding debut. They got it right [the] first time.”

The comment was followed by a firestorm of criticism on social media given that the BAFTAs are an English event, with one user writing via X , “Don’t you dare say soccer, David. Who even are you?”

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“That might be true in football, or soccer- DAVID BECKHAM YOU ARE ON THE BAFTAS DON’T YOU DARE PANDER TO THE AMERICANS!!!” another added.

“David Beckham it’s a British awards show, you don’t need to mention soccer,” a third user wrote, while a fourth accused Beckham of “pandering to the Americans.”

David Beckham Upsets England for Saying Soccer BAFTA Awards
Prince William speaks with David Beckham Jordan Pettitt – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Beckham has not yet responded to the awards show backlash, but he spent his career playing both in the U.S. and overseas before retiring from the sport in 2013. He is now the president and co-owner of Inter Miami in Florida and the co-owner of Salford City Football Club in England.

Ahead of his BAFTAs appearance, Beckham celebrated Valentine’s Day with his wife, Victoria Beckham. The couple — who recently appeared in an UberEats Super Bowl ad together — shared romantic tributes to each other after more than 24 years of marriage.

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“Happy Valentines to an amazing wife, mummy & best friend. I love you,” David captioned an Instagram photo on Wednesday, February 14, showing a glimpse of him kissing his wife at sunset.

“I love you so much!!!!” Victoria, 49, responded as she reposted his photo via her Instagram Story.

In a separate post, the fashion designer wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day cowboy 🤠🐴🔊 love u so much @davidbeckham!!!” She shared a photo of David wearing a Western hat and sent kisses to their four children: Brooklyn, 24, Romeo, 21, Cruz, 18, and Harper, 12.

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Victoria also shared throwback photos with David, including a shot from one of her pregnancies, as well as a snap of the twosome hugging after her Paris Fashion Week show in March 2023.

Victoria didn’t appear to accompany her husband to the BAFTAs on Sunday, but he gave fans a glimpse of how he spent the star-studded night out. “Amazing night celebrating so many incredible people @bafta,” David wrote via Instagram alongside a photo of himself sitting with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford.

In a separate post, David teased that he was “starstruck” after meeting Michael J. Fox, who made a surprise appearance at the ceremony, and more of the A-list guests.