Human rights groups call on Silver Ferns to drop partnership with PUMA

Today Palestinian rights activists in over twenty countries, including Aotearoa New Zealand, are taking part in an international day of action against the sportswear company PUMA.  Human rights groups in Aotearoa are calling on the Silver Ferns to take a stand for human rights and end their sponsorship deal with PUMA.

PUMA sponsors the Israel Football Association (IFA) who support six Israeli football teams based in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Over 200 Palestinian football clubs and associations have called for action to end PUMA’s sponsorship of the Israel Football Association.

PUMA is the only international sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA) which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements built against international law on occupied Palestinian land.

Israel’s military occupation forcibly expels Palestinian families from their homes to give way to illegal settlers. Recent violent expulsions of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah featured in international news stories and led to world-wide protests, including in Aotearoa.

Eliana Darroch, of Auckland Peace Action, said:

“Forty years ago, Aotearoa stood up and helped to end South African apartheid by protesting against sporting relations with South Africa. A report released by Human Rights Watch in April determined that the treatment of Palestinians by Israeli authorities is a situation of aparthide. Again, sport and politics mix and conscience is needed.”

“The Silver Ferns should cut ties with PUMA, because PUMA is sponsoring sport in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, settlements which according to the UN and international law, are illegal. These are Palestinian traditional territories where now Palestinians arent allowed to set foot, or be there to watch the sports games.”

“The Silver Ferns might not be playing netball against apartheid Israel, but by continuing their partnership with PUMA they are standing on the wrong side of history. “

Neil Ballantyne, of Justice for Palestine, said:

“As fans of the Silver Ferns we’ve always applauded their commitment to fair play and diversity.   Today, we call on the Silver Ferns to take a stand for human rights and against Israeli apartheid. Please don’t renew your partnership with PUMA until PUMA stops sponsoring the Israel Football Association.”

PUMA took over sponsorship of the IFA in 2018 when their rival company Adidas ended a similar sponsorship deal following an international campaign against their involvement.

Sign the petition here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/tell-the-silver-ferns-to-drop-puma

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