Pilsner Urquell withdraws support from Paris Olympics due to Russian presence

The company will continue to support individual Czech athletes but will 'withdraw all communications related to the Summer Olympics in Paris.'


Written by ČTK Published on 20.12.2023 10:29:00 (updated on 20.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Pilsner Urquell, an official partner of the Czech Olympic Committee (COV), will no longer support the 2024 Paris Olympics under the current conditions. Instead, it will send money to Czech athletes, the brewery said today in reaction to the planned participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the games.

Unhappy with stance of Olympics

Brewery spokesman Zdeněk Kovář told ČTK that Pilsner Urquell is withdrawing from all Olympic communication. It will continue financially supporting Czech sport, and funds intended for the Olympics will go to Czech athletes. Kovář responded to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris Olympics.

"Pilsner Urquell has decided to withdraw all communications related to the Summer Olympics in Paris after agreeing with the COV. Nor is it planning its own campaign for the Games, as it did in the past," Kovář said.

"This is Pilsner Urquell's internal matter, which we will continue discussing. It is not for us to comment at the moment," the COV statement said.

Money diverted to Czech team

Pilsner Urquell marketing manager Zuzana Dudová said the brewery wants to continue celebrating Czech athlete success but at events aligned with its values.

"At the same time, we are not going to slacken in the support we give them and want to live up to our financial commitment," she said.

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The COV welcomed this stance, saying: "We appreciate Pilsner Urquell continues standing by Czech athletes and remains our partner in these turbulent times."

Pilsner Urquell has supported Czech Olympians over 20 years for values like fairness, humanism and belonging.

"We hoped they would be reflected in the upcoming Olympics. Unfortunately, the IOC decision, despite COV opposition, is not aligned with these principles. The Olympics thus become political and we do not want to actively support the Games under current conditions," Dudová said.

Other companies unhappy

Other COV partners, T-Mobile and Alpine Pro, want to pressure the IOC to reconsider allowing Russians to partake in next year's event, representatives said.

Last week, CPI Property Group, also a COV partner, announced ending cooperation with the committee in response to the IOC's decision. Originally, CPI was to contribute CZK 25 to 30 million over four years to the COV budget.

While CPI ended its partnership, Pilsner Urquell decided to give contract money to support Czech athletes and develop sports venues.

Kovář said Pilsner Urquell clearly opposed the Russian invasion from the start. It supported humanitarian activities, stopped exports to Russia and Belarus immediately, maintaining this decision.

"We appreciate Pilsner Urquell's humanitarian activities towards Ukraine and clear opposition to Russian aggression. Our position also condemns Russian aggression and opposes Russian and Belarusian participation in Olympics and qualifiers for the war's duration," the COV said.

Pilsner Urquell continues supporting Czech hockey as "the main partner of national hockey teams, both men's and women's," Dudová noted.

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