Ramallah,Over 130 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations Tuesday called on German sportswear giant Adidas to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) over its inclusion of football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land, according to a press release of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
In a letter addressed to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, the Palestinian clubs cautioned that as the main international sponsor of the IFA, Adidas is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel's human rights abuses and give international cover to Israel's illegal settlements.
The letter notes that UN Security Council Resolution 2334 denounces Israeli settlements as flagrant violations of international law and cautions the world's second largest sportswear manufacturer that its sponsorship of the IFA makes it eligible for inclusion in the UN's database of complicit companies doing business in or with Israel's illegal settlements.
The Palestinian clubs further warn that the company's continued complicity with Israel's settlement enterprise may expose it to consumer-led boycott campaigns in the Arab world and globally.
Hind Awwad from PACBI said: "Adidas relies heavily on football league and club sponsorships to raise its brand awareness. However, being associated with the IFA as it tramples Palestinian rights will implicate Adidas in Israel's egregious human rights violations, including illegal settlements, home demolitions and land grabs throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.
"In 2016, Adidas ended its sponsorship of the International Association of Athletics Federations, regarding the doping and corruption scandals plaguing the organization as a breach of the contract. Surely involvement in Israeli settlements built in violation of international law should be grounds for ending sponsorship of the IFA. Adidas has a responsibility to do the right thing and heed the call from Palestinian footballs clubs to end its sponsorship of the IFA."
In their letter, the Palestinian clubs recall the widespread protests, calls for boycott and government condemnations of Adidas over sponsorship of Israel's so-called Jerusalem Marathon, which illegally passes through occupied East Jerusalem. Adidas rightly ended its sponsorship of the marathon, they say, and must now withdraw sponsorship of the IFA until it ends its involvement in Israel's grave violations of international law and human rights abuses against Palestinians.
PACBI has also launched a petition calling on Adidas to end its IFA sponsorship as Palestinian children and their families are being pushed from their homes to give way to the settlements hosting IFA league matches.
Source: International Islamic News Agency