Open Letter

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

March 12, 2018

Palestinian football teams and sports associations call on Adidas to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association over inclusion of teams based in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

To: Kasper Rørsted, CEO of Adidas

Cc: Executive Board members Roland Auschel (Global Sales), Eric Liedtke (Global Brands), Harm Ohlmeyer (Finance), Karen Parkin (Global Human Resources) and Gil Steyaert (Global Operations)

Dear Mr. Rørsted, Mr. Auschel, Mr. Liedtke, Mr. Ohlmeyer, Ms. Parkin and Mr Steyaert,

We are writing to urge Adidas to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) due to its deep complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

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.

IFA’s involvement in Israel’s illegal settlements has been condemned by, among others, Wilfried Lemke, the UN special adviser on sport for development and peace, dozens of Members of the European Parliament (MEP), civil society and human rights groups and public figures from the world of arts and culture. Despite these global appeals, the IFA has decided to put politics above sports and refused to end its complicity.

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. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) denounces Israeli settlements as “flagrant violations” of international law. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is compiling a database of companies that do business in or with Israel’s illegal settlements as a practical step for accountability of complicit corporations. Adidas’ sponsorship of the IFA would land it on this list based on the selection criteria. In addition, your sponsorship of the IFA, an entity with operations in the settlements, makes Adidas complicit and may expose it to consumer-led boycott campaigns in the Arab world and globally.

Adidas rightly ended its sponsorship of the so-called “Jerusalem marathon” after widespread protests, calls for boycott and government condemnations. The Jerusalem marathon, just like IFA’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements, is a clear example of Israel’s use of sports to whitewash its oppression and occupation of Palestinians.

According to your website, “Adidas recognises its corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the importance of showing that we are taking the necessary steps to fulfill this social obligation.” In line with Adidas’s “own direct influence,” we urge you to comply with your social responsibility policy by withdrawing your sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) until it ends its involvement in Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Signed:

  1. Sur Baher Club
  2. Deir Jarir Youth club
  3. Terra Sancta Center-Beit Hanina
  4. Um Touba Club
  5. Beit Hanina Youth Center - BHYC
  6. Althouri Youth Club
  7. Anata Youth Club
  8. Beit Sourik Club
  9. Al Ram Youth Club
  10. De La Selle Club
  11. Bilin Club
  12. Qalandia Youth Club
  13. Ramallah Islamic Club
  14. Biddo Athletic Club
  15. Beit Sira Sports Club
  16. Jericho Youth club
  17. Al Nwaemeh Sports Club
  18. Silwan Club
  19. Ni’lin Club
  20. Sawahri Club
  21. Al-Quds Club
  22. Ramallah Youth Club
  23. Esawiah Club
  24. Zubeidat Club
  25. Jerusalem Basketball Academy
  26. Hizma Youth Club
  27. Mount of Olives Club
  28. Beit Sourik Club
  29. Beit Safafa Club
  30. Saffa club
  31. Jaba’ Youth Club
  32. Shurfat Sports Club
  33. Jericho Youth Club
  34. Burj Al-Luqluq Social Center Society
  35. East Sawahreh Club
  36. Palestinian Academy for Sports Talent
  37. Al-Raja Society for Sports and Rehabilitation
  38. Al Ram Ahli Club
  39. Shabab Al-Khalil Sports Club
  40. Shabab Al Samou Club
  41. Bani Na’eem Club
  42. Al Shyoukh Youth Club
  43. Shabab Yatta 
  44. Beit A’awa Youth Club
  45. Al-Aroub Youth Club
  46. Taffouh Club
  47. Beit Kahel Youth Club
  48. Al Karmel Yatta Club
  49. Soureif Club
  50. Halhoul Club
  51. Sa’r Club
  52. Beit Ummar Club
  53. Rabud Sports Club
  54. Wadi Al-Neis Club
  55. Al Khader Club
  56. Orthodox Club-Beit Sahour
  57. Orthodox Club-Bethlehem
  58. Susya Club
  59. Ramadin Club
  60. Fuwar Club
  61. Shabab Dura 
  62. Islamic Club of Bethlehem
  63. Syriac Club
  64. De La Selle Club
  65. Bethlehem Sports Club for the Disabled
  66. Salah Eddin Club
  67. Al Burj Youth Club
  68. Tarqumyah Club
  69. Hussan Youth Club
  70. Silat  El-Harthiya
  71. Yamoun Sports Club
  72. Jaba Sports Club
  73. Burqein Club
  74. Qabatiya Athletic Club
  75. Jenin Youth Center
  76. Jenin Athletic Club
  77. Barta’a Athletic Club
  78. Rummaneh Club
  79. Ya’abd Club
  80. Markaz Tulkarem 
  81. Noor Shams Club
  82. Kufr Alabad Club
  83. Deir AlGhusoun Club
  84. Thunabeh Club
  85. Beit Leid Athletic Club
  86. Zeita Sport Club
  87. Nazlet Esa Sports Club
  88. Iktaba Athletic Club
  89. Irtah Athletic Club
  90. Attil Sports Club
  91. Jalboun Sport Club
  92. Tubas Sport Club
  93. Tamoon Athletic Club
  94. Al Faraa Youth Club
  95. Quseen Athletic Club
  96. Burqa Club
  97. Ousrein Club
  98. Jabal An-Nar Club
  99. Number One Club
  100. Al-Mustaqbal for the Disabled Club
  101. AL-Arqa Club
  102. Tulkarem Cultural and Athletic Club
  103. Ahli Qalqilia Club
  104. Azoun Club
  105. Jayyous Athletic Club
  106. Qalqilya Islamic Club
  107. Kufr Thilth Club
  108. Kufr Zeibad Club
  109. Jensafoot Club
  110. Hajjeh Club
  111. Kufr Hajjeh Club
  112. Kufr Qaddoum Club
  113. Deir Ballout Club
  114. Kufr Deik Club
  115. Deir Istia Club
  116. Azzawiya Club
  117. Ibal Club
  118. Northern Asireh Club
  119. Balata Youth Center
  120. Asira Al-Qabaleyyeh Club
  121. Qusra Club
  122. Beita Club
  123. Nablus Youth Club
  124. Douma Youth Club
  125. Hutteen Sporting Club
  126. Askar Youth Center
  127. Tel Athletic Club
  128. Aqraba Athletic Club
  129. Orif Club
  130. Al-Qastal Club
  131. Yaseid Club
  132. Sama Nablus Athletic Club
  133. Al-Ittihad Club
  134. Marj Bin Amer Club
March 12, 2018
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