Largest Malaysian University Ends Contract With Puma Over Support for Illegal Israeli Settlements
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Malaysia’s largest university, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), has ended a sponsorship deal with global sportswear brand Puma over the company’s support for illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
UiTM, which had a three year contract with Puma as sponsor of the university’s football team, confirmed that the contract was not renewed due to Puma’s involvement in Israel’s human rights abuses.
Puma sponsors the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes and advocates on behalf of teams in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Israeli settlements are considered war crimes under international law.
Human rights groups in Malaysia and dozens of countries around the world have joined together to support the call from more than 200 Palestinian teams to boycott Puma until it ends support for Israel’s settlement enterprise.
Prof. Mohd Nazari Ismail from BDS Malaysia commented:
We welcome UiTM’s principled decision to end its contract with Puma in response to the call from Palestinian teams and athletes. Puma’s support for Israel’s illegal land grabs make the company an undesirable partner for all those who believe that sports should be used to promote tolerance and fair play. We will continue to raise awareness of the global campaign to boycott Puma and call on all Malaysian teams and athletes to drop Puma.
Stephanie Adam from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said:
Puma’s decision to associate itself with Israel’s military occupation denying basic human rights to millions of Palestinians continues to cause damage to the company’s most valuable asset, its brand image. The #BoycottPuma campaign is only destined to grow as more players and fans of the beautiful game become aware of Puma’s support for Israel’s human rights abuses. Rather than putting more efforts into failed attempts at deflecting criticism and damage control, Puma should uphold the principles of sport and end its sponsorship of the IFA.
UK football club Chester FC recently opted not to renew a sponsorship deal with Puma, having previously stated that “ethical working practices" were among its selection criteria. Premier League club Liverpool FC, which was in talks with Puma, also opted for another sponsor. More than 30,000 emails have been sent to UK football clubs urging them to end or not enter into contracts with Puma.
The Boycott Puma coalition is planning its third global day of action on April 25 ahead of the 2020 Puma shareholders meeting.