The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights have this week requested that Spanish football team Atletico Madrid drops it’s current sponsorship deal with the Azerbaijani government after concerns raised over human rights violations and a recent crackdown on free speech.
In a letter penned by HFHR’s Vice-President Adam Bodnar and Project Coordinator Dominica Bychawska-Siniarska the group called for the leading European club to end it’s current sponsorship, citing the arrest of human rights activists and journalists as a main reason to boycott the current regime.
“After all this we do not understand why such as outstanding European football team as Atletico Madrid would agree to promote on its shirts one of the most repressive countries in the world,” the group has stated in their letter.
The Azerbaijani government began sponsoring the club in 2013 in an attempt to improve their public image and draw more tourists to the country. Earlier this year Madrid announced that their current sponsorship would be renewed until 2015, after which the HFHR requested that the club consider cutting all ties with the South Caucasus regime.