By Mark Baber
July 14 – The German football association (DFB) is trading in its Mercedes-Benz deal for a shiny new model from disgraced carmaker VW, reportedly worth €25-20 million per year. Mercedes have been the DFB’s main automotive sponsor since 1972.
The deal will allow VW the right to have its logo printed on the Germany training and pre-match kits, next to the DFB’s main sponsor, Adidas, from 2019 through to end July 2024.
DFB President Reinhard Grindel commented on the deal, saying: “It suits the DFB that VW is looking to engage with the whole of football, from the peak to the base.”
Grindel made little attempt to reconcile the deal with the DFB’s public commitment to social responsibility and “ethical values lived out of inner conviction,” pointing out the benefits to his organisation of the additional money and saying: “Although the circumstances are not comparable, the DFB and VW are united in the necessity to learn from the mistakes of the past and to take the right measures for the future.”
VW Chairman Herbert Deiss, commented on the deal saying, “With the German national teams, the DFB proves courage, innovative power and the unconditional will to succeed. These values also apply to Volkswagen.”
The deal comes just seven days after German authorities finally made their first arrest in the ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal, taking into custody former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio, who is wanted by US Justice authorities after being charged for his role in what prosecutors call “the long-running conspiracy to defraud U.S. regulators and customers by implementing software specifically designed to cheat U.S. emissions tests in thousands of Audi “clean diesel” vehicles.”
Pamio is an Italian citizen and may not be able to avoid extradition as have the five German citizens so far charged by US authorities in the scam.
VW is mired in controversy and law suits after having pled guilty to deliberately and illegally deceiving consumers and regulators. A study in Nature magazine calculates VW caused 6,800 premature deaths in 11 countries of the EU.
Another study by researchers form Massachusetts Institute of Technology claimed Volkswagen cars with emissions cheating software in Germany alone caused a total of 1,200 premature deaths in Europe during the period between 2008 and 2015.
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