SOURCE / ECONOMY
Chinese Football Association urged to toughen up against Nike over its Xinjiang cotton ban after reportedly only making a condemnation
Published: Mar 27, 2021 05:12 PM
Left: Comparison photos show footballers from Shanghai Shenhua football club covering Nike logo on their jerseys on Thu.
Right: Nike logo was erased from China's TV series

Left: Comparison photos show footballers from Shanghai Shenhua football club covering Nike logo on their jerseys on Thu. Right: Nike logo was erased from China's TV series "You Are My City And Fortress." Photos: Sina Weibo



Netizens urge the Chinese Football Association (CFA) to show a clear stance and toughen up against its business partner, Nike, over the brand's ban on Xinjiang cotton after the CFA was reported to have lightly condemned Nike amid Chinese customers' boycott.

China's Football Newspaper on Saturday reported that the CFA and the preparatory group of the professional football league have paid great attention to the whole incident and condemned the wrong behavior of Nike over Xinjiang cotton in an internal meeting, saying it is the loss of those enterprises to deliberately not use Xinjiang cotton since the cotton is one of the best in the world.  

The report said the CFA and the group would reserve the right to further deal with the contract with Nike for its wrong behavior. 

However, the report was deleted on the official account of Sina Weibo later.

The CFA has not posted any official statement on its website and did not reply to questions from Global Times. 

Some Chinese netizens felt the CFA's response to Nike in the Football Newspaper's report was too weak and pushed the association to toughen up and cut its contract with Nike to show a clearer stance. 

"Condemnation is too vague, do something," one Sina Weibo user urged the CFA. 

Both the Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL) and China's national football team have long-term contracts with Nike. 

Among them, the CSL signed a 10-year contract with Nike in 2009 and renewed it for another 10 years in 2018. In 2015 the national team signed a 12-year contract with Nike, totaling 1 billion yuan ($153 million), scheduled to run until the end of 2026, according to the newspaper. 

Besides the CFA, other sports associations in China, such as Chinese basketball association and the Chinese Athletics Association, are also in partnership with Nike. There has been no response from these associations so far despite the urge of some netizens. 

Some sports fans backed the CFA and other associations, however, saying they are in a difficult position and should be allowed to make their own decision considering the interests of all parties. 

Chen Feng, a Beijing-based sports fan, told the Global Times on Saturday that the decision to whether terminate the contracts with Nike and Adidas (another brand that has banned Xinjiang cotton) is harder to make for the sports associations than those celebrities from entertainment industries who have already cut ties with the brands. After all, the brands provide sports equipment to athletes, which will have a direct impact on their performance. 

Some football clubs in the CSL, such as Shenhua club and Haigang club in Shanghai, covered the Nike logo on their jerseys in a photo of the team's daily training on Thursday, according to the Football Newspaper.


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