Current Affairs

Sportswear brand faces ban due to anti-gay and neo-Nazi links

Benjamin Cohen March 22, 2006
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One of Britain’s largest sportswear brands, Lonsdale may face problems in selling to customers in Europe after the continent’s largest mail-order company carries through a threat to ban sales of the firm’s line due to their popularity with the far right.

Michel Badke, managing director of Quelle, the German based mail-order giant told the Independent: “Quelle wants to distance itself clearly from all tendencies associated with extremism.” Mr Badke added: “We want to counter any suggestion that we are supporting right-wing extremists through the sale of these goods.”

In Britain, Lonsdale is most associated with boxing although its range of sportswear has become popular in the gay scene at so called “scally” and “chav” club nights. However, in continental Europe, the brand is most widely associated with the extreme-right.

Campaigners argue that one reason for the brand’s popularity with neo-Nazis is due to four letter contained in the Lonsdale name- NSDA- being one letter short of NSDAP, the German spelling of the shortened version of Hitler’s fascist party, National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei.

In an attempt to counter this negative image, Lonsdale has sponsored gay rights and immigrant groups.

Quelle will make a decision later this week. No-one from Lonsdale owner SWI Group was available for comment today.

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