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PUMA dumps Israel national soccer team sponsorship deal

by Mandla Ndlovu
12 Dec 2023 at 13:35hrs | Views
Sportswear giant Puma has announced its decision to terminate its sponsorship deal with the Israeli Football Association (IFA) in 2024. Contrary to speculation, Puma asserts that the decision is not linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict but is a result of the company's revamped business strategy known as "fewer-bigger-better."

According to a statement provided to TIME, Puma clarified that the review of national teams under key performance indicators (KPIs), including commercial performance and participation in major international tournaments, prompted adjustments to its existing roster. The termination of the sponsorship deal with Serbia, also set to expire in 2024, aligns with Puma's strategic realignment.

Puma, which lost its significant soccer sponsorship deal with Italy in 2022 to competitor Adidas, disclosed plans to unveil new sponsorship deals with two national teams, including a high-profile squad, later this year and in 2024.

While reports from the Financial Times indicate that Puma's decision regarding the IFA is primarily financial, with Israel ranking 75th globally in FIFA rankings and representing a limited market for kit sales, the announcement has come amidst growing calls for consumer boycotts of Israel due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Protests have targeted Puma stores in Western cities in recent weeks, with activists accusing the brand of supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank through its association with the IFA. Puma vehemently denies these allegations, emphasizing that its sponsorship exclusively extends to the national squad.

The termination of the IFA sponsorship adds another layer to the complex intersection of sports, politics, and activism. Puma's move is situated within the broader context of its strategic restructuring, but it unfolds against the backdrop of heightened global scrutiny of corporate ties to regions marked by geopolitical tensions and human rights concerns.

Source - Byo24News
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