The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE will hold a demonstration outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Arsenal are sponsored by Emirates Airline, a company with direct links to the regime in charge of the UAE.
Seem as a form of ‘reputation laundering’, counties like the UAE sponsor teams around the world in the bid to erase their reputation as humans rights abusers.
Needless to say, this doesn’t sit too well with many people.
Ahead of the demonstration, we contacted ICFUAE and they told us, “The renewal of the UAE’s shirt sponsorship deal with Arsenal FC is emblematic of the image the Emirati government is intentionally projecting to the international community. The Emirates brand stands for modernity and innovation.
“In reality, however, the UAE is a repressive regime with no regard whatsoever for the fundamental rights of its citizens. Arsenal’s overt relationship with the UAE renders the FC complicit in the Emirati government’s efforts to use sport to whitewash its record of human rights abuses.
“Arsenal FC must not be used as a political tool to conceal the Emirati authorities’ use of torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearance of anyone who dares to speak out against the regime. The UAE’s treatment of their prisoners is internationally condemned, as many political prisoners remain in detention years after their release date.
“It is vital to recognise the UAE for what it is – a repressive regime and a human rights violator – and not just as a brand on a football shirt.
“Therefore, the time is now for Arsenal Fans to say “no” to being used as a platform for advertising a repressive regime.”
Members of ICFUAE will be handing out flyers from 3.30pm in a bid to raise awareness of this issue, about which you can read more in-depth here.
You might also be interested in episode 164 of the Daily Cannon weekly podcast in which we talked with ICFUAE and took a look behind the Emirates curtain: