hummel cancels AFF sponsorship

hummel cancels sponsorship and calls for the immediate resignation of the president of the Afghan Football Federation.

The main sponsor of the Afghan Women’s National Football Team, hummel, is immediately cancelling all sponsorship contracts with the Afghan Football Federation [AFF] and calls for new leadership of the organization. The decision was made after allegations of severe mental, physical and sexual abuse as well as documentation of new contracts stripping female players of basic human rights was presented to the company this week.

Denmark, Nov. 29th, 2018

Danish sports brand, hummel, has decided to immediately cancel all existing sponsorship contracts with the Afghan Football Federation, after the company yesterday was presented with strong allegations of severe mental, physical, sexual and equal rights-abuse of the female players by male AFF-officials. Furthermore, the company has clear documentation of breach of contract as well as the fact that AFF leadership has been aware of the allegations since February this year without taking actions or informing sponsors. The documentation of unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to, a new contract stripping player of several basic human rights.

After having reviewed the documentation and allegations, the company will now not only cancel its sponsorship, it is now actively calling for the AFF-president to step down. Allegedly the president, was complicit in allowing the abuse to happen, and did not respond to the allegations put forward by the national team. Furthermore, hummel calls for investigating the acts of abuse conducted by the named AFF-officials and the immediate suspension of the officials, while the investigation is ongoing.

"hummel is for equal opportunity, freedom and rights for all people. The documentation presented to us is not only indication of gross misconduct and abuse of power by the AFF-officials, it is in direct contrast to our values. We have no other choice but to cancel the sponsorship. hummel will not support an organization, where the safety and rights of the players isn’t the first priority,” hummel CEO Allan Vad Nielsen states.

“hummel remains committed to promote football and women’s rights in Afghanistan, and we welcome opportunities to support these causes through sponsorship in organizations that respect the rights of all members.”

FIFA must investigate and if needed, sanction the AFF

hummel calls for the top authority in international football, FIFA, to investigate and apply the necessary pressure on the AFF to secure the safety of all members, as well as justice in the form of clear sanctions for anyone found responsible for the misconduct. The sports brand expects FIFA to keep the public and media informed of this process.

“Nothing is more important than the rights, safety and security of the players and staff. hummel will continue to support equal rights for women in sports. For this reason, we are prepared to support the players and the staff with need of legal or personal counselling in this matter. Furthermore, we call for and will actively support a new organizational set-up to support and protect the female athletes inside or outside the AFF,” hummel CEO Allan Vad Nielsen adds.

Denmark has recently been elected to be part of the UN Human Rights Council. As a Danish company, hummel believes that using sport to promote universal human rights can be done throughout the world. However, the company insists on certain minimum standards:

“We realize that customs are different throughout the globe, and that Danish values are not the definition of right and wrong. However, our partners must adhere to the principles set forth by the UN in the Sustainable Development Goals. We cannot continue a partnership in good faith realizing that so many of the principles regarding gender equality, justice and wellbeing of humans are set aside. That is where the buck stops,” says Allan Vad Nielsen

The termination of the sponsorship has been declared to the AFF today, effective immediately. hummel is hoping that a renewed cooperation with AFF under new leadership can be established but will remain committed to the support of Afghan women’s football with or without the organization.