Arsenal fans call for boycott of Visit Rwanda sponsorship over refugee scheme

The Visit Rwanda badge is currently on the sleeve of the north London club's match shirts

Published

Arsenal fans are calling for the club to boycott their sponsorship with Visit Rwanda following the Government’s fresh asylum partnership with the African country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the deal with Rwanda on Thursday.

The move has been criticised by many, with question marks raised over human rights.

And now Arsenal fans have called on their club to pull out of the multi-million pound sponsorship deal and remove the Visit Rwanda badge from the sleeves of their shirts.

One fan took to Twitter to send a message to the official Arsenal account: “Cancel the Rwanda deal - this is going to blow up.”

While another said: “Come on @Arsenal drop "visit Rwanda" and replace with the Arsenal foundation or Willows or No more Red or Shelter…turn a negative to a positive. Easy to cover this up on the sleeve as well. No excuses. #rwanda.”

The comments kept coming as one fan added: “Given the news today I'm politely asking @Arsenal to remove the Visit Rwanda patches from their kits and reject all forms of sportswashing.”

Arsenal have the Visit Rwanda logo on their shirts
Arsenal have the Visit Rwanda logo on their shirts
Arsenal fans have called for the sponsorship deal to be ceased
Arsenal fans have called for the sponsorship deal to be ceased

Another user wrote: “@Arsenal Players kneeling for Black Lives Matter while ‘Visit Rwanda’ reminds us the UK will transport black asylum-seekers there. Time to end the sponsorship deal.”

The north London club signed a three-year deal with Visit Rwanda worth a reported £30million back in 2018.

And a new four-year contract worthy up to £10 million a year was agreed at the beginning of this season, according to Football.London.

Calls to remove the sponsor come after Mr Johnson backed the new deal, adding that illegal immigration has “bedevilled our country for too long”.

He continued: “We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not.

“The British people voted several times to control our borders, not to close them, but to control them.

“So just as Brexit allowed us to take back control of legal immigration by replacing free movement with our points-based system, we are also taking back control of illegal immigration, with a long-term plan for asylum in this country.”

Since the start of 2022, 4,617 people had reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats as of Tuesday, according to data obtained from the Home Office.

It is understood that a further 600 arrived on Wednesday with hundreds more on Thursday.

The previous highest daily total for this year was recorded on March 15 when 405 people made the crossing in 12 boats, analysis shows.