How German sponsors of the World Ice Hockey Championship reacted to Lukashenka’s sanctions | Belarus: a view from Europe – special project > | >

The three German companies sponsoring the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, at >’s request on Thursday, May 6, responded to the sanctions imposed on their products by the Belarusian authorities. The measures announced in Minsk for six months were a reaction to the fact that, because of these firms, the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka was deprived of the opportunity to become one of the two hosts of the current championship.

Products of the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga fell under the ban

“The government of the Republic of Belarus has announced a ban on the import of new Skoda Auto cars. Until the situation is clarified, the local importer in Belarus has suspended sales of new Skoda Auto cars for an indefinite period from May 5, 2021,” Martin Jezek stated in a written response to the > inquiry from the press services of the Czech car manufacturer Skoda Auto, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German concern Volkswagen (VW).

“We hope to resolve the situation soon in the interests of our clients,” he added. The company representative did not answer the question of >, whether Skoda cars were supplied to the Belarusian market completely from the Russian VW plant in Kaluga, or partially from the headquarters in the Czech Republic.

A familiar picture for many years: the Skoda logo on the hockey field during the World Cup

Beiersdorf, a German manufacturer of cosmetics and household chemicals, told > that it had taken into account “the list of those goods that are prohibited for import and sale on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.” We are talking about a line of men’s cosmetics under the Nivea Man brand. “We regret that we can no longer serve our customers in Belarus,” stressed the press service of Beiersdorf. She avoided answering what share of the global revenue of the concern was occupied by the Belarusian market so far.

In turn, the press service of the German manufacturer of motor oils, auto chemicals and auto cosmetics Liqui Moly responded to >’s request that “we do not want to speak out on this topic at the moment.”

Sponsors did not want to put up with human rights violations in Belarus

In mid-January, the owners of the Skoda, Nivea Man and Liqui Moly brands announced that they would refuse to sponsor the 2021 World Cup if some of the matches are held in Minsk. They named the systematic violations of human rights in Belarus and the brutal treatment of peaceful demonstrators by the authorities as the reason.

These statements came shortly after German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged not to make “PR gifts” to the Lukashenka regime. After the ultimatum of its three financial partners, including the general sponsor of the championship of Skoda, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), there was nothing left but to abandon the original plan to host the 2021 World Cup in two countries – Latvia and Belarus. As a result, now all the matches will be held from May 21 to June 6 in Riga.

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