Several sponsors of the Dutch football team, including main sponsor ING, are not traveling with the Orange to the World Cup in Qatar because of the human rights situation in that country. That is what an ING spokesperson said. Human rights organization Amnesty International calls it ‘positive’ that companies are not coming to Qatar.
In addition to ING, this also concerns other sponsors of Orange such as KPN, Albert Heijn, Bitvavo and the Dutch Lottery, who do not use the option to get tickets for Orange matches. ING will also not campaign around the World Cup. Albert Heijn is still considering how it organizes its advertising campaign and how it can communicate in the Netherlands that the company is a sponsor of football in the Netherlands.
KPN says it will celebrate the World Cup with customers and relations in the Netherlands. The telecom company is still thinking about the implementation of the advertising campaign around the football tournament.
Human rights organization Amnesty International is ‘positive’ about the news that several sponsors of the Dutch national team are not going to the World Cup in Qatar. “We have never called for it, because we mainly focus on the organization of the World Cup, FIFA and the KNVB, but if companies do this on their own, we naturally think that is positive,” said a spokesperson.
“Companies have a moral responsibility,” the spokesperson continues. ,,By saying that you are not going, or not providing tickets, you are showing a wide audience that there is something wrong with this tournament.” According to Amnesty, companies are sending ‘a signal’ by not going along. “If that makes people think even a little bit about this weird World Cup, then that’s already a win.”
They now show: we remain a sponsor of the Dutch national team, but with muted pride
‘Storm in a glass of water’
Sports marketer Frank van der Wall calls the situation ‘a storm in a teacup’. “These companies support Dutch football. The fact that a World Cup takes place in that sport is part of it. The finger now threatens to go to the sponsors, but we should point to FIFA, the organization and national associations,” he says. According to Van der Wall, the world should have been in turmoil when it was decided in 2010 that the World Cup would be held in Qatar.
Van der Wall finds the decision of sponsors not to go to Qatar ‘wise’. “Public opinion is forcing sponsors to withdraw. They don’t, but they do let it be known that they are not going to Qatar with people. That is a wise decision.” The sports marketer understands that companies do not organize promotions and activities that they might otherwise have carried out. “They now show: we will continue to sponsor the Dutch national team, but with muted pride.”
Main sponsor ING
ING says it will mainly focus on the European Football Championship for women in England. The bank will also remain associated with Orange and Dutch football as the main sponsor. That contract was recently extended until 2028. The name ING can still be seen on the training clothes of the players. ING will also remain visible as a brand during training sessions and during interviews, for example via a billboard that stands behind players during interviews. ING cannot be seen as a sponsor during the matches, because the FIFA World Football Association deals with the expressions along the field. ING is not a sponsor of FIFA.
According to an article by de Volkskrant from December, ING was previously involved in financing the World Cup. The bank would serve as a lender for Qatar National Bank, which in turn is a major sponsor of the tournament. In a response, ING says it will never comment on individual customer relationships and also does not want to say anything about whether or not to sever ties with QNB because of the abuses surrounding the World Cup.
In general, an ING spokesperson indicated that customers who do not meet the bank’s standards are invited for an interview. In extreme cases, ING can terminate the customer relationship if improvements are not made. ING would not say what the status of QNB is now.
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