Maybe first of all: the new jerseys of the Danish national team for the World Cup in Qatar in winter are selling well. Box office hit, the Danish outfitter Hummel can rub his hands.
This also in advance: The sporting goods company will donate part of the proceeds from the jersey to the human rights organization Amnesty International.
That is roughly the area of tension, commerce in the struggle for good will and selling it as well as possible – jerseys and message.
Hummel has designed three jerseys for the controversial tournament in Qatar. One all white, one red and one black. There is now a lot of applause especially for this black one, because Hummel’s communication strategists have provided it with a protest note, which they made public via Instagram. It is to be understood as “the color of mourning”.
“While we fully support the Danish national team,” said Hummel, “this should not be confused with supporting a tournament that has claimed the lives of thousands of people. We want to make a statement on Qatar’s human rights record and the treatment of the migrant workers who built the country’s World Cup stadiums.”
The sporting goods logo does not stand out in color on all three jerseys, just like that of the Danish association DBU. Both are barely visible, which is expressly intended. Also intended as a “protest against Qatar and its human rights record,” it said. They don’t want “to be visible during this tournament… We believe sport should bring people together. And if not, we want to make an explanation.” This was garnished with the hashtag
Danish Football Association CEO Jakob Jensen told TV2: “This is another way to show that we don’t approve of some things about hosting the World Cup in Qatar.” The jersey is “one contribution among many” critical signs of the Danish national team with an eye on the situation in Qatar. At the tournament, which begins on November 20, Denmark will line up like the German team with the “One Love” captain’s armband.
The presentation at least touched a sore spot with the World Cup organizers. They criticized Hummel’s actions and denied claims “that this tournament claimed the lives of thousands of people,” according to a statement. Reference was made to “significant reforms” and the “improved living conditions” for migrant workers in Qatar. This commitment is “trivialized by the Danes”. The Danish federation was therefore “urgently asked” to inform its equipment supplier correctly about the real conditions on site. And maybe remember your own past.
In any case, the “SZ” listed that Hummel published a list of sponsorship partnerships “on the back pages” in the company’s team sports catalog from 2018. There you will also find Qatar SC and Al Sadd SC, both of which are clubs from Qatar’s capital Doha and are not the only football or handball clubs from the country that Hummel “until recently has demonstrably equipped with equipment”, as it says stated in the report.
Just two years ago, the Al Kharaitiyat club managed to get promoted to the desert state’s elite soccer league and jubilant pictures would show the players celebrating happily in jerseys from the Danish outfitter. The company did not answer a question from the newspaper about previous, current and future sponsorships. As a result, the protest got the reputation of being a mere promotional campaign and seemed a bit hypocritical.