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Outrage over Victorian Amateur Football Association’s Brunei deal

Outrage over Victorian Amateur Football Association’s Brunei deal

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:47 Written by // James Findlay

A sponsorship deal between the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) and Brunei Government owned Royal Brunei Airlines has had calls to cease, following the Brunei Government’s introduction of laws to stone gays to death.

The Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby noted that sponsorship arrangements were about bringing two brands together that shared mutual values and provided mutually beneficial opportunities to promote their respective causes.

"Given the leadership shown by the AFL and other sporting codes in combatting homophobia, surely the VAFA realises it will lag behind the rest of the sporting community and fail to meet the expectations of its supporters and players, if it knowingly accepts funds from a Government that kills LGBTI people," Corey Irlam from the VGLRL said. 

"It is perhaps time for VAFA to reassess if the values of this sponsor continue to be aligned with their own organisation's values. If it were me I wouldn't want to wait for the first stoning of a gay man under Sharia law for the VAFA to find out what the public thinks of associating with a company owned by a Government that stones people for loving someone of the same sex" he said.

Other Brunei Government owned establishments worldwide such as hotel chains owned by Brunei’s Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, have been subject to boycotting.

The pre-Oscars party was due to be held at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel but has been moved to another venue, and Virgin CEO Richard Branson has also announced he will boycott the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection of hotels.

“No Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay with Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights” he posted on his Twitter account.

Celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Osborne have also stated boycotts of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

Locally, calls for travel agent Flight Centre to take action and boycott the hotel chain have fallen on deaf ears for the time being.

“It’s our traveller’s choice on where they stay, and we respect their decision. That being said, we have two hotels contracted under the Dorchester chain and we’ll obviously be monitoring the situation. If we need to review or take any action, we’ll definitely go down that path” Kate Carty from Flight Centre told MCV.

The VAFA were contacted by MCV but refused to comment on the sponsorship.


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based writer and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. James was also the Marketing and PR Manager for Melbourne's Midsumma Festival for two years, before traveling overseas where he taught English in Germany and worked as a tour guide around Western Europe. He is currently studying his Masters at Melbourne University in Public Health (specialising in Sexual Health).

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