Sports brand Puma will stop sponsoring Israel’s national football team in 2024, according to a company spokesperson.
The move was planned since last year and is not related to consumer boycott calls against Israel amid the Gaza war, the spokesperson for the German sportswear firm said on Tuesday.
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Puma has long faced boycott calls over its brand alliance with the Israel Football Association (IFA), but such calls have intensified during Israel’s two-month offensive in Gaza, which has killed more than 18,000 Palestinians.
In a statement emailed to the Reuters news agency, a Puma spokesperson said the company’s contracts with several federations, including Serbia and Israel, were due to expire in 2024 and would not be renewed.
The spokesperson said Puma would soon announce deals with several new national teams, as part of its “fewer-bigger-better strategy”.
An internal Puma memo viewed by the Financial Times, which first reported the news, also confirmed the shake-up.
The memo said Puma would continue to “evaluate all other existing partnerships as well as any other upcoming opportunities to ensure we have a strong roster of national teams”, the newspaper reported.
Puma first signed its contract with the IFA to provide kit to players in 2018.
Since then, the company has faced boycott calls from activists, who say the IFA also includes teams based in Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law.
Global firms supportive of Israel have faced growing boycott calls by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement before and during the Gaza war.
Earlier this week, fashion company Zara pulled an advertising campaign from its website after it drew a backlash for appearing to mimic scenes of suffering in Gaza and sparked boycott calls from pro-Palestine activists.