Dortmund sign arms-maker deal before Champions League final

Borussia Dortmund have signed a new sponsorship deal with German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall and will display the defence company’s logo ahead of facing Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Wednesday, Dortmund said the three-year deal with Rheinmetall includes “wide-reaching advertising space, marketing rights and event and hospitality arrangements in the stadium and on the club grounds” starting from this week’s buildup for the Champions League final on Saturday.

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Rheinmetall is building a new plant in northern Germany to produce around 200,000 artillery shells per year as part of European efforts to increase weapons production against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Security and defense are fundamental cornerstones of our democracy. That is why we believe it is the right decision to take a very close look at how we protect these cornerstones,” Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement.

“Especially today, when we see every day how freedom must be defended in Europe. We should deal with this new normality.”

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Wednesday that Rheinmetall’s sponsorship of a football club was an unusual move which “shows where we stand.”

“Ignoring the arms industry is no longer tenable in Germany due to the new reality,” Habeck said after a government meeting.

“We know and unfortunately have to admit that we are in a different, more threatening world.”

Editor’s note: This story was corrected on May 31 to reflect that Rheinmetall’s logo will not replace that of telecom provider 1&1 on the front of Dortmund’s shirt.

Information from Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.