Antoine Griezmann, France and FC Barcelona star-forward, formally cut ties with his long-term sponsor Huawei citing fears over the treatment of Uyghur Muslims. Griezmann was one of the leading members of the France team that won the 2018 World Cup in Russia and has been a Huawei brand ambassador since 2017.
The player’s announcement comes in light of a recent report by research organisation IPVM that Huawei had tested facial recognition software intended to help China’s surveillance of Uyghurs.
Simon Chadwick, professor at Eurasian Sports Industry, said that in terms of athletes terminating sponsorship deals with Chinese companies, “this is pretty unprecedented. What Griezmann has done is that he has not only spoken but acted as well.” Chadwick noted the move was “very significant” since China has been a source of a lucrative business, “not just for individual athletes, but for European clubs in general.”
Griezmann was willing to choose his conscience over money to speak in favor of Uyghur Muslims. We know how hard of a step this can be, and applaud and respect Antoine Griezmann for using his platform and influence to bring attention to the atrocity occurring in China.