Nfter the International Football Association (FIFA) banned the “One Love” armband at the World Cup in Qatar and the German Football Association (DFB) probably bowed to it in its opening game against Japan on Wednesday, the retail group Rewe ended its cooperation prematurely ended with the DFB.
“FIFA’s scandalous attitude is absolutely unacceptable for me as the CEO of a diverse company and as a football fan,” said the CEO of the Rewe Group, Lionel Souque, in a statement on Tuesday.
The partnership between the DFB and the Cologne retail and tourism group has existed for more than ten years, but Rewe announced in October that it would not extend the contract, which expires at the end of the year. Back then, that had nothing to do with the widely criticized World Cup in Qatar.
Important source of income
However, the company now sees itself called upon to “clearly distance itself from the position of FIFA and to waive its advertising rights from the contract with the DFB – especially in the context of the World Cup.” This was also communicated to the DFB on Tuesday .
Even if this has no direct financial impact on the football association, Rewe’s step is a signal. The sponsors are a particularly important source of income for the DFB. The latest available financial report from 2020 shows that the sponsorship brought in approximately 163 million euros. After deducting the expenses, the marketing, at almost 96 million euros, roughly covers the expenses that the DFB has for all association activities and administration, including administration and salaries.
The situation is particularly delicate for the Volkswagen Group. Because the Wolfsburg team works closely with both sides. VW is one of the most important sponsors of the DFB. On the other hand, World Cup organizer Qatar holds 17 percent of the voting rights in the Volkswagen Group via a holding company.
However, the company is quite clearly on the side of the DFB. Unlike Rewe, VW does not end the sponsorship – also with reference to the fact that the women’s national team and youth and amateur football are also promoted.
Qatar is “an important and reliable shareholder,” it said from Wolfsburg. FIFA’s behavior was “unacceptable”. Volkswagen would therefore have welcomed it if the European associations had set a “visible sign” for diversity. One of the corporate principles is: “We live diversity”. One accepts all people as they are. While the group attested the DFB “many good developments” that they wanted to continue working on in the future, he shot in the direction of FIFA: The current discussions showed “that something fundamental urgently needs to change in world football”.
“We regret that the bandage is not worn”
Deutsche Telekom announced talks with the DFB on Tuesday, and the company is also one of the sponsors. “We don’t believe in hasty decisions and first have to understand the background to the DFB’s decision,” said a spokesman.
Of course, the Dax group from Bonn also has a great commercial interest in the World Cup, as Telekom has acquired the broadcasting rights for all games for its Magenta TV service. “We are critical of the circumstances of the World Cup in our reporting,” said the spokesman. Telekom has been a partner of the DFB and the men’s national team for 15 years, and the contract was only extended until 2024 in May.