Luton Town kicks out Israeli occupation sponsor Puma

Man on football field raises fist

Luton Town’s James Collins celebrates scoring against Blackburn Rovers, at Kenilworth Road, on 22 July. Luton Town is dropping sponsor Puma after a campaign by Palestinian rights activists.

Andrew Couldridge Action Images

Activists in the UK are celebrating a victory for Palestinian rights, after Luton Town Football Club dropped German sportswear brand Puma as its supplier.

“We would like to thank Luton Town FC for their constructive responses to our calls to boycott Puma, and for notifying us directly of their decision to drop the company as their kit supplier,” said Markus Keaney, spokesperson for Luton Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“We hope other clubs will follow suit and choose to stand with justice, freedom and equality.”

More than 200 Palestinian sports teams and athletes have called for a boycott of Puma because it sponsors the Israel Football Association, which includes teams in Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.

The Electronic Intifada has seen correspondence involving Luton FC officials, confirming that the team raised these human rights concerns with Puma before deciding to go with another supplier.

The Championship League club announced last week that its players will be wearing kit made by Umbro starting with the 2020-21 season.

As well as direct engagement with the club by local activists, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said that thousands of emails were sent to Luton management calling on the team to drop Puma.

“This decision will give a huge boost to the international campaign, which PSC is leading in the UK, to boycott Puma until it ends its complicity with Israel’s violations of international law,” Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal said.

“It’s a reminder to all sports organizations of their responsibilities to ensure their commercial relationships reflect their obligations to act ethically and not be complicit in rights abuses.”

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So much good feeling about Luton Town and never better deserved! Well done and good luck for next season!

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.