Tennis star Roger Federer has been criticised by climate change activists – including Greta Thunberg – over his sponsorship deal with Swiss bank Credit Suisse.
It follows legal proceedings this week during which a dozen Swiss climate activists appeared in court after refusing to pay a fine for playing tennis inside branches of Credit Suisse bank.
The stunt, in Lausanne and Geneva, was intended to highlight the bank’s fossil fuel investments and “stop people acting like nothing is happening”.
Ms Thunberg was among nearly 800 accounts to retweet a post from climate campaign group 350.org Europe, with the hashtag #RogerWakeUpNow.
The tweet said: “Since 2016 @CreditSuisse has provided $57 BILLION to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits – something that is utterly incompatible with #ClimateAction @RogerFederer do you endorse this? #RogerWakeUpNow.”
Credit Suisse told Reuters: “Combating global warming is important. Credit Suisse respects freedom of expression as a fundamental democratic right. [However], to protect its clients, employees and branches, it does not tolerate unlawful attacks on its branches, irrespective of the perpetrators and their motives.”
Federer, who is in Melbourne preparing for the Australian Open, issued a response on Sunday to the news agency, The Guardian reported.
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The 20-time Grand Slam champion said he would hold talks with his sponsors.
The statement read: “I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires.
“As the father of four young children and a fervent supporter of universal education, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the youth climate movement, and I am grateful to young climate activists for pushing us all to examine our behaviours and act on innovative solutions. We owe it to them and ourselves to listen.
“I appreciate reminders of my responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I’m committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors.”
Meanwhile, he will be taking part in an exhibition match to raise money for a bushfire relief fund on Wednesday alongside Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Nick Kyrgios.
Source : Sky News