Palestinian civil society welcomes end of partnership between adidas and Israel Football Association

In March 2018, 130 Palestinian football clubs urged adidas to end its sponsorship agreement due to the Israel Football Association's (IFA) complicity in violations of international law. According to the letter, “[t]he IFA sponsors football matches in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.” The letter claims that “[a]didas is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses…giv[ing] international cover to [its] illegal settlements.” The letter cautions that adidas may be  eligible for inclusion in the UN’s database of complicit companies doing business in or with Israel’s illegal settlements.

Adidas responded to these allegations after which the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) prepared a rejoinder in response. Both statements are available below. In July 2018, the IFA announced that Puma would be replacing adidas as its kit partner, it is unclear if the decision was caused by civil society pressures.

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Article
31 July 2018

Team Justice Scores. Adidas No Longer Sponsoring Israel Football Association

Author: Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), BDS

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel welcomes the news that Adidas is no longer sponsoring the Israel Football Association (IFA). Last March, over 130 Palestinian football clubs called on the German sportswear manufacturer to end its sponsorship of the IFA over its complicity with the oppression of the Palestinian people. The IFA includes six Israeli football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements that rob Palestinians of land and resources. Israeli settlements are considered a war crime under international law. A spirited global campaign followed, with human rights supporters around the world calling on Adidas to end its sponsorship of matches on stolen Palestinian land. In June, over 16,000 signatures on an international petition were delivered to Adidas satellite headquarters in Amsterdam. In a reply to the Palestinian clubs, Adidas stated it had raised the issue of Israeli settlement teams with FIFA. Adidas, one of FIFA’s main partners, noted the need for the world governing body of football to "adjudicate on the question of the Israeli settlement teams, by following the tenets of international law and their human rights policy” ... Another German sportswear company, Puma, has replaced Adidas as sponsor of the IFA under a four-year deal. International consensus is clear. Israeli settlements are illegal. Puma is exposing itself to global boycott campaigns by conscientious consumers supporting human rights... 

NGO rejoinder
22 June 2018

Rejoinder: Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responds to adidas

Author: Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

... We welcome Adidas’ commitment to “uphold human rights standards and norms,” and its call on FIFA to respect human rights and international law “on the question of the Israeli settlement teams.” We appeal to Adidas to follow its own advice: to respect international law and Palestinian human rights by ending its sponsorship of the IFA as long as it hosts clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli settlements violate Palestinian human rights. They are built on stolen Palestinian land and restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement and access to water, fertile lands and livelihoods. Furthermore, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements are war crimes. This makes Adidas complicit in serious Israeli human rights violations through its IFA sponsorship... Adidas says it works in accordance with the UN’s Guiding Principles. It is based on these guiding principles that the UN Human Rights Council has established a database of companies complicit in Israel’s occupation. Adidas risks being included in this database... On its web site, Adidas states that where it finds “potential or actual adverse impacts” on human rights, it is “committed to mitigate or eliminate those impacts” and... "to do no harm when it comes to the exercise and fulfilment of human rights.” We urge Adidas to “do no harm” to Palestinian human rights, and to cancel its... sponsorship of the [IFA]. 

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Company response
31 March 2018

adidas responded to human rights concerns regarding its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association

Author: adidas

Fundamentally, adidas acts in a politically neutral way. We equip teams with sportswear, athletic footwear and equipment for one goal: to promote sports and to be associated with sports. adidas holds outfitting contracts with several national teams in the world, among others with the Israeli Football Association (IFA). We do support and uphold human rights standards and norms and we have raised with FIFA the need for them to adjudicate on the question of the Israeli settlement teams, by following the tenets of international law and their human rights policy.

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Article
20 March 2018

More than 130 Palestinian sports clubs urge Adidas to end sponsorship of Israel Football Association over settlement teams

Author: Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Mondoweiss

... [O]ver 130 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations 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... 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 the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (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...

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Article
12 March 2018

Palestinian Football Clubs to Adidas: End Sponsorship of Israeli Settlement Teams

Author: BDS

... The IFA sponsors football matches in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as exposed by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations. There are six Israeli football clubs located in Israel’s settlements, on stolen Palestinian land, that Palestinians are not allowed to enter. Israel’s settlements contribute to serious human rights abuses and are a direct cause for restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, access to natural resources and ability to build homes and conduct business... As the main international sponsor of the IFA, Adidas is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses, including against Palestinian footballers. Palestinian players are routinely attacked, imprisoned and killed. They are denied the freedom of movement to attend their own matches. Palestinian stadiums have been bombed and destroyed. Israel even prevents Palestinians from importing football equipment and developing football facilities. Adidas’ sponsorship of the IFA legitimises and gives international cover to Israel’s illegal settlements...

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