German retailer ends sponsorship to protest FIFA’s decision on #OneLove armbands.
The retail giant Rewe ended its long sponsorship of Germany’s soccer federation on Tuesday to protest of FIFA’s decision to prevent several European teams, including Germany, from wearing rainbow-colored armbands at the World Cup.
On Monday, FIFA, world soccer’s global governing body, threatened to issue a yellow card to any player who wears a rainbow armband at the tournament. That scuttled a plan by at least seven European nations to wear versions with the phrase “One Love” during the tournament. The armbands were meant to be a show of support for minority groups amid continuing concerns about the treatment of the L.G.B.T.Q. community in Qatar, where homosexuality is a crime.
FIFA, however, said the armbands violated its strict uniform rules for the tournament and would lead to discipline, and the national teams quickly backed down. Rather than risk in-game punishments for valuable players, the teams said, they had asked their captains not to wear the armbands at all.
A day later, Rewe, a partner of Germany’s federation since 2008, said it no longer wanted to be associated with FIFA after its decision.
“We stand for diversity — and football is diversity too,” Rewe’s chief executive, Lionel Souque, said in comments reported by Der Spiegel. “FIFA’s scandalous attitude is absolutely unacceptable for me as the C.E.O. of a diverse company and as a football fan.”