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David Beckham is responding to reports he allegedly used his UNICEF charity work to campaign for knighthood

By Karen Mizoguchi and Elizabeth Leonard
Updated February 04, 2017 09:47 AM
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David Beckham is responding to reports he allegedly used his UNICEF charity work to campaign for a knighthood.

“This story is based on outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails from a third party server and gives a deliberately inaccurate picture,” a spokesperson for Beckham tells PEOPLE in a statement.

“David and UNICEF have had a powerful partnership in support of children for over 15 years. The David Beckham 7 Fund specifically has raised millions of pounds and helped millions of vulnerable children around the world,” the statement continued.

Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005.

On Friday, British newspaper The Sun published reportedly leaked emails between Beckham and his publicist from 2013 where they discussed the soccer star working on securing a knighthood in 2013. (Beckham was awarded an OBE, or Order of the British Empire, in 2003.) After Beckham allegedly complained that British singer Katherine Jenkins was awarded an OBE and calling it “a f—— joke,” Beckham’s rep urged him to focus his energy on his charitable efforts.

Beckham also allegedly railed against the committee who decides who get the honors, calling them “a bunch of c—-” and saying he “expected nothing less.”

“It’s a disgrace to be honest and if I was American I would of got something like this ten years ago,” Beckham allegedly said.

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In February 2015, Beckham launched the 7 Fund to raise funds and awareness for vulnerable children by focusing on seven different countries and seven different initiatives.

“David has given significant time and energy and has made personal financial donations to the 7 Fund and this commitment will continue long term,” the statement added. “Before establishing the 7 Fund, David had supported UNICEF and a number of other charities over many years, including donating his entire earnings from PSG during his time playing there.”

Concluding, “David and UNICEF are rightly proud of what they have and will continue to achieve together and are happy to let the facts speak for themselves.”

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On Friday, UNICEF released a statement, defending their partnership with Beckham.

“Some reports relate to alleged private correspondence between our ambassador and other parties, which we have not seen and cannot comment upon,” the statement read. “David Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005, and as well as generously giving his time, energy and support to help raise awareness and funds for UNICEF’s work for children, David has given significant funds personally.”

The organization also noted Beckham’s last UNICEF trip in June 2016 when he traveled to Africa to visit children living with HIV, who are receiving support from his charity 7 and UNICEF.

In addition to his reported complaints about not getting a knighthood, the alleged emails also included Beckham’s supposed reluctance to donate his own money to charity and his rep urging the soccer star not to post a photo of his gold-plated laptop on social media so as not to ruin his “man of the people” reputation.