UNICEF UK have taken to twitter to refute reports that David Beckham will be travelling to Morocco to take part in the Green March Gala football match.
Rabat – Despite reports circulating in Moroccan news outlets, UNICEF UK clarified in a tweet that international football star and UNICEF ambassador David Beckham will not be taking part in the gala in honor of the 44th anniversary of the Green March in Laayoune, Morocco.
After a journalist on Twitter asked UNICEF UK to verify whether Beckham would be attending the gala, UNICEF UK issued a clarification.
UNICEF UK tweeted on November 1 that “David is not & has never been planning on taking part in the events you refer to in Morocco this month.”
The tweet went on to address the rumors.
“We are not sure exactly where this rumour began, but we can confirm it is false news.”
Hit Radio, a Moroccan radio station and pop culture news outlet, reported on October 28 that the retired football player would be taking part in the gala match. Other Moroccan news outlets picked up the story.
UNICEF UK denied the claim, responding to a query from pro-Polisario journalist Ben Sanderson.
In Spanish, Sanderson tweeted: “Can UNICEF UK at least clarify that Beckham will not be in the occupied territories as is being falsely reported in Moroccan news outlets, as always they are only propagating.”
Sanderson styles himself on Twitter as a professional journalist at News Week Espanol and finishes his profile with the hashtag “SaharaLibre,” meaning free Sahara.
As a branch of the UN, UNICEF holds a neutral position in the Western Sahara conflict—meaning that Beckham, as a UNICEF ambassador, is bound by the same regulations.
Morocco’s annual Green March celebration remembers the 1975 movement when 350,000 unarmed Moroccans marched into the Sahara. The march was a protest against the Spanish occupation of Western Sahara under the leadership of King Hassan II.
“We have to do one thing, dear people, and that is to undertake a peaceful march from the north, the east, the west to the south. It behooves us to act as one man in order to join the Sahara,” King Hassan II said in his call-to-action on October 16, 1975.
Part of the annual celebration is a football match at the Sheikh Mohamed Laghdaf stadium.
While other famous football players are set to attend the Green March celebrations and participate in the gala match, UNICEF has confirmed that Beckham will not be among them.
Moroccan media also reported that the recently retired Brazilian football star Ronaldinho would attend this year’s Green March. While Ronaldinho attended the Green March in 2018, he is not on the confirmed list of players this year.