German supermarket Rewe drops FA sponsorship over ‘One Love’ armband row

German supermarket Rewe is making a stand against FIFA’s ban on the “One Love” arm bands and has put an immediate stop to its deal with the German Football Association.

Any advertising and promotions around the World Cup will cease immediately, and Rewe will now be giving away FIFA merchandise, such as collectable cards and sticker albums, for free instead of charging. All profits from items already sold will be donated to charity.

Like the Football Associations in England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Wales and Denmark, the German FA backed down from making the gesture when FIFA announced that sanctions would come in the form of yellow cards and not just fines.

But the German FA was brave enough to speak out against FIFA’s decision. President Bernd Neuendorf said: “It was a clear threat against us because we were threatened of sporting sanctions. It was an unprecedented demonstration of power by FIFA. We don’t want to fight this battle on the back of our players.”

Rewe’s CEO Lionel Souque said: “We stand for diversity – and football is diversity too. FIFA’s scandalous stance is totally unacceptable to me as CEO of a diverse company and as a football fan.”

Armband activism is pretty performative anyway, especially for the England team when the men’s game is so clearly a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ players.

Good on Rewe (whose ad agency is WPP’s thjnk) for putting its money where its mouth is. It might not be Adidas or Coca-Cola, but German football is still very much rooted in local businesses and fan ownership.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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