German club drops Saudi airline deal over its refusal to fly Israelis

A German second division club has terminated a sponsorship with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned airline following reports that it refuses to fly Israeli citizens.

According to the Berliner Morgenpost, Frankfurt FSV director Clemens Kruger admitted the club had made a “mistake” by going into partnership with Saudia, a deal that was revealed last week but immediately came under fire.

FSV Frankfurt said it had asked Saudia for clarification of the reports that it bans Israeli passport holders, but had been told to contact the Saudi embassy in Berlin, “upon which both sides agreed to terminate the contract by mutual agreement” immediately.

New York’s mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, has already demanded that Saudi Arabia’s airline be banned from the city’s airports because of its anti-Israeli policy.

“No city in the world has closer ties to Israel than we do, and yet Israeli citizens are being discriminated against right here at JFK. It’s not only illegal; it’s an affront to who we are,” said de Blasio, prior to his election victory.

German Jews and a Jewish football club had criticized the contract between FSV and the Saudi Airline.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung paper, the president of the club Maccabi Frankfurt, Alon Mayer, said it is a slap in the face and “I now see the previously highly valued club FSV with different eyes.”

Alex Feuerherdt, a German who writes about anti-Semitism and football, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday “for Saudia that would have an upgrade of its brand name” if the sponsor contract with FSV had been approved.