Club urged to axe kit maker after staff ‘put strip club visits on expenses’

Fans of FC St Pauli are urging the German club to ditch kit manufacturer Under Armour amid claims staff were putting strip club visits through on expenses.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the US company, who also make the current Southampton kit, had emailed employees, banning them from charging visits to strip joints on corporate cards.

The Wall Street Journal said CEO and founder Kevin Plank had taken athletes and co-workers to such venues, putting the charges on expenses.

It emerged after women at the company complained about the ‘demeaning’ practice.

The report also suggested that women were invited to company events based on whether they were deemed good looking and appealing to men.

Now, 50,000 St Pauli fans have signed a petition, demanding that the club’s deal with Under Armour, set to expire in 2021, is cancelled.

Eyebrows were raised when St Pauli, second in 2. Bundesliga, signed the deal with Under Armour in the first place over the firm’s links to hunting clothing and gun organisations.

Club sources said they were already considering ending the deal upon its expiry, but they could now act sooner after their hand was forced.

Speaking to German media, the club’s business leader Andreas Rettig said: "In the search for more independence we are always thinking about taking FC St Pauli in different directions, however there are no concrete plans."

He added that as long as the contract with Under Armour is running, there will not be any changes.

The company that was founded by Mr Plank, 46, in 1996. It has grown into a global brand with nearly £3.8million in annual revenue last year.

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry are just two of the big-name athletes on their roster.

Mr Plank told the Wall Street Journal in a statement: “Our teammates deserve to work in a respectful and empowering environment. We believe that there is systemic inequality in the global workplace and we will embrace this moment to accelerate the ongoing meaningful cultural transformation that is already under way at Under Armour. We can and will do better.”

Southampton have not responded to a request for a comment.

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