Puma are set to drop its sponsorship of the national team of Israel, but insists the decision is for ‘business reasons’ and not due to the conflict with Palestine.
The German company, the third largest sports brand on the planet, confirmed that it will be dropping its sponsorship of Israel’s national side – a decision that they say was made a year ago.
Puma’s decision to sponsor Israel’s football team back in 2018 brought an onslaught of backlash towards the sports brand, as activists accused the company of supporting Israeli control of the West Bank.
This was on account of the fact that the Israeli Football Association (IFA) included clubs who were based in those regions.
Puma responded to these allegations at the time, stating that they were only involved in sponsoring the national side of Israel, and not teams at club level.
Now that the German brand has decided not to renew its contract with the Israeli national football team, some have made claims that the decision was based on the backlash received from the partnership.
BDS, a Pro-Palestinian campaign, claimed via their X account that the choice to not renew was a direct result of its long-running boycott campaign against the sponsorship.
Their post read “we have forced [Puma] to abandon its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association”.
This, however, was rejected by the IFA themselves, who stated that they had the option to renew the contract with Puma for a further 2 years, but decided against doing so after failing to agree on improved terms & conditions of their contract.
Puma stores across some western cities have also been targeted with political demonstrations over the past few weeks, according to local reports.
According to those who are familiar with the internal workings of the deal, Puma decided to not renew with Israel’s football team due to financial reasons.
The company lost a major sponsorship of Italy’s national side to Adidas in 2022, and are reportedly aiming for a “fewer-bigger-better” strategy and become more selective when it comes to their sports marketing.
Essentially, this means that the company will aim to sponsor less sides, but more prominent ones, to make their brand more exclusive in the football space.
It is said that the German brand will also “discontinue to work with some other national teams” as a part of this process.
Such a business decision would explain why Israel, who have only reached a major tournament once in 1970 (World Cup – knocked out at Group Stage) are a part of the throwaway pile on Puma’s desk.
Puma have stated that they will also terminate their contract with Serbia’s national team next year, as well as continue to “evaluate all other existing partnerships as well as any upcoming opportunities”.