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Puma to end sponsorship of Israel's national football team next year

Puma, the German sportswear giant, has announced it will not be renewing its 6-year contract with the Israeli national football team in 2024. While the company claims the decision was made last year and is not related to calls for boycott, pro-Palestine supporters view the termination as a success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) which has mounted pressure on the company to sever ties with the Israeli football team which advocates to maintain teams in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

December 12, 2023 at 2:32 pm

Puma will end its sponsorship of Israel’s national football team next year, a spokesperson for the German sportswear firm said today, Reuters reports.

“While two newly signed national teams – including a new statement team – will be announced later this year and in 2024, the contracts of some federations such as Serbia and Israel will expire in 2024,” said the spokesperson in an emailed statement.

The decision was taken in 2022 as part of Puma’s new “fewer-bigger-better strategy” and was in line with the regular timelines for designing and developing team jerseys, added the spokesperson.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement had called for a boycott of the sportswear firm since its decision to sponsor the IFA in 2018. Over 200 Palestinian sports teams had called on PUMA to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association, describing how “Puma’s sponsorship of the IFA legitimises and gives international cover to Israel’s illegal settlements” and helps “whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses” including its routine violence against Palestinian footballers.

According to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), PUMA has lost millions of pounds in lucrative contracts because of pressure applied by the campaign. PSC branches have been part of this sustained campaign, organising regular pickets, protests and vigils for several years outside Puma stores and at Puma events all over the UK.

“PUMA’s decision is an important victory that shows the power of the solidarity movement. We’ve sent all corporations a powerful message: if you choose to be complicit in Israeli apartheid, you will face the strength of the solidarity movement. We will continue to grow our BDS campaigns against banks like Barclays and corporations like JCB, who are complicit in Israel’s system of apartheid,” PSC Director, Ben Jamal, said.

Boycott calls have grown stronger and expanded to more firms and products following Israel’s genocidal military offensive in the Gaza Strip on 7 October.

READ: PUMA sportswear is being urged to axe its football sponsorship in apartheid Israel