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February 4, 2013

Why is Beckham sitting on the bench for nothing?

(Continued)

“It makes an awful lot of business sense to perpetuate, to prolong his active competitive football career,” he said, especially with a team that’s doing fairly well this year. “It makes an awful lot of sense for him to showcase himself because it will generate more income from his various other sponsorship and licensing activities.”

But certainly this move, as any at this late-stage in his playing career, is being made with an eye on what will come next. Cashmore said that when Beckham signed with the L.A. Galaxy, there was an understanding that he would eventually become an ambassador for American soccer. That plan clearly fell by the wayside — perhaps because Major League Soccer decided it was just too expensive to keep on the star after his presence on American soil failed to generate more interest in the game.

It’s possible, Cashmore said, that Beckham is looking for a similar deal after his stint at PSG, which is Qatari-owned. The tiny, wealthy nation is hosting the World Cup in 2022, and Beckham’s contract with PSG will establish a relationship with it; from there, a role as, say, an ambassador for the tournament would seem more natural.

“For his after-career conversion, it’s important to have links with major actors in the world of sports,” said Satin. And Qatar is certainly one. It has poured money into PSG, drawing major names like striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It also funds the satellite network Al Jazeera, which could provide Beckham with a platform. And then there’s the World Cup.

In the end, though, Satin said the clue to Beckham’s thinking may be as simple as the eternal draw of Paris.

“PSG has become a glamorous club, a pretty nice club in a beautiful city,” said Bruno Satin, an agent. “It’s just two hours on the Eurostar (train) from London.”

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