FC Barcelona, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, gave up a sponsorship proposal the Swedish chain of H&M stores, which would provide the association with the uniforms. The refusal to be associated with the brand is related to accusations of crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese government against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang, informs fashion portal Fashion United.
In 2020, brands such as H&M and Nike stopped buying cotton Xinjiang as a result of allegations of abuses committed by Beijing against Uighurs. In response, China, which repeatedly denies the allegations, started a campaign to boycott the brands, which led to a reduction in sales in Chinese territory.
Fearing a drop in sales in China, a market it enjoys enormous popularity, FC Barcelona backed off its commitment to H&M. The partnership would earn the Catalan club's battered coffers approximately three million euros a year.
In addition to possible financial losses, another fear of FC Barcelona in joining H&M was to eventually lose another sponsor, the Chinese technology company Oppo. The agreement pays around $6 million to the club annually and is valid through June 2022.
Another reference of the club was an episode that took place in the NBA, the North American basketball league. In 2019, Daryl Morey, then director general of the Houston Rockets, posted on his Twitter account a message in support of Hong Kong protesters in favor of the territory's emancipation China.
The fact infuriated the Chinese government, which in response suspended the showing of the team's games in the country for almost a year. The NBA estimated its loss at the time to be approximately $400 million.
In late 2020, French striker Antoine Griezmann, who plays for Barcelona, decided to break a personal sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics giant Huawei, accused of providing the Chinese government with digital technology used in the crackdown on Uighurs.
“Due to strong suspicions that Huawei contributed to the development of a 'Uighur alert' through the use of facial recognition software, I am immediately ending my partnership with the company,” he said on his Instagram at the time.