Rewe is walking away from its agreement with the DFB after the national soccer association backed down from a plan to have its captain, Manuel Neuer, where a rainbow armband in QatarImage: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa/picture alliance
Qatar 2022: Rewe drops German national team partnership
John Silk with Reuters
November 22, 2022
The supermarket chain said it was ending its association with the DFB after the soccer association abandoned its plan to have national team captain Manuel Neuer wear a rainbow armband at the World Cup.
German supermarket chain Rewe on Tuesday ditched its advertising campaign with the German Football Association (DFB) after FIFA prohibited the wearing of 'OneLove' armbands, an initiative to celebrate diversity at the Qatar World Cup.
In September, the DFB released a statement "against discrimination" saying national team captain Manuel Neuer would wear a "special armband" with rainbow colors for the "upcoming Nations League games and during the World Cup in Qatar."
But on Monday, that plan was shelved after soccer's global governing body threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the armband at the World Cup, currently taking place in Qatar.
The decision to abandon the German national team by one of the country's biggest grocery stores makes it the first sponsor to take action in the wake of the decision of seven nations to take heed of FIFA's threat by backing down from its plan to have their captains wear the symbol.
"We stand up for diversity — and football is also diversity. We live this position and we defend it," said Rewe Group chief executive Lionel Souque.
"FIFA's scandalous attitude is absolutely unacceptable," he added.
Rewe also announced it would start giving away World Cup-themed cards, available at its stores as part of the agreement it had with the DFB, for free.
DFB may take legal action over FIFA stance
Meanwhile, the DFB said it was considering legal action over the armband issue.
In German newspaper Bild, DFB spokesman Steffen Simon said: "FIFA has forbidden us to make a sign for diversity and human rights. It has combined this with massive threats of sporting sanctions without specifying them. The DFB is checking whether this action by FIFA was lawful."
The 'OneLove' campaign is a joint initiative with the national teams of England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Wales, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, along with Germany.
The soccer associations from the aforementioned countries that qualified for the World Cup said their captains would wear the rainbow armbands in Qatar, where where homosexuality is illegal, before backing down from the initiative just hours before England's match with Iran.
The idea was initially proposed by European soccer's governing body UEFA and was aimed at dealing with issues relating to human and workers rights in Qatar.
German backlash to Qatar World Cup
In Germany, there has been a backlash to the tournament in recent weeks, with some bars refusing to show the games, while the hashtag #BoycottQatar2022 has been trending on Twitter.
Backdown on 'one love' armbands sets internet ablaze: DW's Danya Barsalona
The action by the workers' welfare agency AWO and the artist Volker-Johannes Trieb commemorated the more than 15,000 migrant workers who have died in Qatar in the past decade, according to Qatari government statistics.
Altogether 6,500 footballs filled with sand were also placed on the playing field in the stadium, reflecting another estimate of migrant deaths based on figures provided by non-Qatari governments.