DORTMUND (dpa-AFX) - The sports commissioner of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD), Thorsten Latzel, has criticized Borussia Dortmund's advertising partnership with the arms company Rheinmetall. "Advertising for arms companies has no place in stadiums," said the Rhineland president according to an EKD statement on Thursday. The deal was a "deliberate crossing of communicative boundaries" and highly problematic in several respects. "International sports tournaments in particular are about a form of peaceful understanding between people," argued Latzel.

"In the spirit of the Olympic Truce, during which warlike activities were suspended. It contradicts this to promote the production of weapons." It is one thing to support Ukraine in the face of Russia's illegal war of aggression and to strengthen Europe's ability to defend itself. But it is quite another to promote arms companies and "normalize" wars and weapons. "Military force and weapons can only ever be a last resort to curb worse violence. They are not "normal" and must never become so," said Latzel.

On Wednesday, Rheinmetall and BVB announced their sponsorship for the next three years. The partnership reportedly includes the use of high-reach advertising space, marketing rights and event and hospitality offerings in the stadium and on the club grounds./cd/DP/men