Budget supermarket group Lidl will not run adverts or promotions during the World Cup in Qatar in December in response to growing criticism of the decision to hold the tournament in the Gulf state.
A spokeswoman for Lidl said the decision was the result of ‘a number of factors’. ‘With what is going on in the world right now we don’t feel the time is right to mount a big campaign,’ she told the Financieele Dagblad.
Lidl is the Netherlands’ third largest supermarket. Market leader Albert Heijn, one of the official sponsors, has not yet said how it will be promoting the championship but has already said no AH delegation will be travelling to Qatar.
‘We are looking for ways to show we support the Dutch team from the Netherlands,’ a spokesman said.
Supermarket groups Jumbo and Plus have not yet decided what they will do, the FD said.
Supermarket traditionally spend millions around big sporting events. According to research by main sponsor ING, which pulled its campaign earlier this month, the Dutch stock up on extra snacks and beer to the tune of €10 mn per game.
The venue for the championship, allegedly secured by bribing FIFA officials, has been controversial from the start. Qatar has no football history and the tournament, traditionally played over the summer had to be postponed until the cooler winter months, disrupting the football season.
Human rights organisations have also denounced Qatar’s dismal human rights record. An estimated 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka hired to build the stadiums have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian said, although the true death toll may be even higher.
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