Puma Ends Sponsorship of Israeli National Soccer Team

Puma Terminates Sponsorship Deal with Israeli National Soccer Team

German sports apparel brand Puma will terminate its kit sponsorship of Israel’s national football team when its contract expires next year, a spokesperson for the German sportswear firm announced on Tuesday, stressing that the decision has nothing to do with the Israel-Palestine war.
“While two newly signed national teams – including a new statement team – will be announced later this year and in 2024, the contracts of some federations such as Serbia and Israel will expire in 2024,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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The decision was taken last year as part of Puma’s new “fewer-bigger-better strategy,” the spokesperson explained, noting that it was in line with the regular timelines for designing and developing the team’s jerseys.
The news was first reported by the Financial Times, which cited internal documents showing that Puma decided not to renew its deal with the Israel Football Association.
The company told Reuters that it is also terminating its deal with the Serbian national team and will soon announce two new signees, describing one of the new signees as a “statement team.”

In 2018, Puma replaced crosstown rival Adidas as the sponsor and maker of the Israeli national team’s uniforms, which made the brand a target for boycott movements like the pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
The boycott calls against Puma have intensified since the start of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza last October in response to an attack on its territory launched by Hamas. In response, the brand said it “does not support football teams in settlements nor does its Israeli distributor have branches in settlements.”

The decision was taken last year as part of Puma’s new “fewer-bigger-better strategy,” the spokesperson noted.

CEO Arne Freundt took over leadership of Puma in late 2022 after his predecessor, Bjorn Gulden, became CEO of Adidas.
Puma’s stock was little changed Tuesday afternoon in Frankfurt, Germany, after having already lost 5.4% this year.
For the third quarter of this year, Puma’s operating profit came at $255.7 million, down from 278.9 million a year earlier, but revenue surpassed analysts’ expectations with a 6% rise in currency-adjusted terms. Gross margin was also higher than expected, at 47.1%, up from 46.8% a year ago.

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Puma confirmed in October its target for annual operating profit of between $637.6 million and $724.1 million, expecting “strong improvement in profitability” in the fourth quarter thanks to lower marketing, sourcing, and freight costs, despite a gloomy backdrop for consumer demand.
Puma said its inventories fell by 20.3% compared to their level on September 30 last year, as retailers are still recovering from overstocking that has led to discounting in the US.

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