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Human Rights, Love Football, Sport

Goodbye to the Arsenal

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Arsenal’s top brass, David Dein and Keith Edelman signed a £350,000 deal with Israel’s tourist board to advertise tourism on billboards in the new Ashburton Grove Stadium. Although the deal was signed it was decided to delay the advertisements during and following the attack by Israel on Lebanon.

The Israeli tourism ministry has delayed the start of its advertising campaign with English football club Arsenal for fear of receiving negative reactions due to the recent war with Lebanese group Hizbullah.

The 515,000 euros deal was announced amid a mass of publicity in February this year. At a press conference in Tel Aviv, Arsenal’s managing director Keith Edelman said Israel would be the club’s “official and exclusive travel destination.”

Many readers of this blog know that I am a fully paid up supporter of Arsenal FC. I have known about the deal since early spring when it was originally signed but waited to see if it actually went through before finally making a decision to cease my support of my beloved club which I have supported since 1979. The deal is now on and has been for a while and I can no longer support a team that sponsors Israel let alone one that sponsors it as a tourist destination while innocent civilians including women and children are killed daily and their livelihoods destroyed.

TO KILL FOR

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What does Israel get out of this deal?

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– Israel will be featured on digital perimeter boards and 450 high-definition LCD screens at the stadium on game days;

– Israel will feature on the team’s website, Arsenal.com; and in its magazine.

– The televised ads will reach audiences in an estimated 198 countries.

– The Israeli Tourism Ministry will receive intellectual property rights, the use of the team logo and the right to use photos of the team and its players in ads.

– The Israeli Tourism Minister will be allowed use the stadium banqueting hall twice a year and organize an exhibition at the end of the playing season

– The stadium will hold permanent sale tables for Israel t-shirts

The financial advisers Ernst & Young were employed to draft this proposal with the aim of bringing an extra 2 million tourists to Israel annually.

Arsenal FC and individual players have been in the forefront of the ‘Kick Racism Out of Football Campaign’. For Arsenal to sign a deal to promote Israel which denies Palestinians human rights and is illegally occupying Palestinian territory is to go against the very principles of anti-racism.

How do you stop supporting a football team? Well I am not sure as I cannot help but look at the scores but any gear, publicity, or attendance of games has now ended until the sponsorship is removed – and no I wont be supporting any other team just watching football. Compare Arsenal’s deal with that of Barcelona who have signed a deal with UNICEF

With this alliance, FC Barcelona will give financial support to projects around the globe. In particular, those which help to protect children where there are humanitarian crises and those where AIDS is on the increase.

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2 Comments

  1. This is a shame really. I wonder if Arsenal’s Thierry Henry will come out in protest? Henry has been an vocal opponent of racism in soccer and created an anti-racism campaign called Stand Up Speak Up. Certainly Henry should support a boycott of Israeli advertisements.

    http://askthisblackwoman.com/2006/09/21/soccer-and-racism.aspx

  2. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Kym@ I doubt it – if he wanted to he should have done it along with his team mates by now. Sad times really as I love football and love Arsenal but there you go.