Irish sportswear giant O'Neills has pulled all Puma products from its shelves, both online and in-store, following criticisms of the German companies' association with Israel.
The decision comes following planned protests by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) outside O'Neills' Derry store.
People Before Profit representative Sean Harkin, based in Derry, commended O'Neills for this decision: "Ordinary people across the world are responding to the barbarism they are witnessing by mobilising in unprecedented numbers to demand an end to it. Palestinians have called for those opposed to what Israel is doing to step up the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanction against Israel. We have long called for O'Neill's to stop stocking the Puma brand at all their stores."
"In response to a planned IPSC protest, the Derry O'Neill's store has made the decision to remove Puma items. We welcome this decision and commend all the workers for standing with Palestine and against an inhumane onslaught."
— Belfast Telegraph (@BelTel) November 16, 2023
The IPSC has reported that all nine O'Neills stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland have removed Puma products in response to the mounting concerns.
Puma supplies kits not only to the Israeli national soccer team but also to several club teams, six of which operate in what many deem as illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory. Puma maintains that its ties to Israeli football are brokered through a local distributor and denies any direct links to the contested clubs.
Palestinians - in a call for solidarity against Israel's actions - have advocated for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS). This stance aligns with a long-standing IPSC call (since 2018) for O'Neills to cease the sale of Puma products across all their outlets.
Puma's Head of Communications, Kerstin Neuber also commented on the matter: "Puma’s local distribution partner supplies the Israeli national teams with Puma-branded football equipment to compete in international competitions. We do not have any other official connection or association with any other Israeli football team – neither in mainland Israel nor in settlements. Puma does not support football teams in settlements nor does its Israeli distributor have branches in settlements..."
"Puma continues to support and outfit athletes from all backgrounds, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, sexual orientation and national origins."