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Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

AFL pulls out of sponsorship over gay concerns

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The AFL has announced it will break sponsorship ties with Brunei Airlines after the Sultan of Brunei has instituted the death penalty against gays under the introduction of sharia law in that country.
The AFL has announced it will break sponsorship ties with Brunei Airlines after the Sultan of Brunei instituted the death penalty against gays under the introduction of sharia law in that country.

After more than 34,000 members of an online gay social justice platform petitioned the AFL to cut ties with the Royal Brunei Airline, the league announced today it was working to wind up the agreement ‘possibly within days, at most within a few weeks’.

In just few days, over 1,300 tweets were sent to the AFL Twitter account from members of the group All Out demanding the sponsorship be dropped.

‘We applaud the Australian Football League for this courageous move,’ said Andre Banks, All Out’s co-founder and executive director.

‘This is a game changer in the push against Brunei’s proposal to mandate inhuman punishments like stoning, whipping and amputation for being gay and other offences. The AFL has taken a strong stand against homophobia today that shows the Sultan of Brunei that killing people because of who they are is not only wrong – it’s very bad for business.’

This sponsorship between AFL Europe, the governing body for the AFL in Europe, and the Royal Brunei Airline was the ‘the organisation’s biggest ever sponsorship deal’ according to AFL Europe.

A new strict sharia penal code, imposed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah introduced a series of harsh provisions that violate basic human rights, including death penalty for gay and lesbian citizens, once the legislation is fully applied in 2015.

All Out members all over the world have got key corporations and sports associations to speak out in response to anti-gay laws.

During the Olympics in Russia, the group raises a huge outcry that got some National Olympic Sponsors to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay law. More recently it successfully encouraged Orange to pulled ads from a tabloid that outed lesbian, gay, bi and trans people when the Ugandan anti-gay law passed.

In what was described as a first for major professional sports in Australia, the Australian Football League and Australia Rugby Union committed in April this year to eliminating homophobia in sport.


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