June 19, 2020 / 10:55 AM / 13 days ago

Sport-Indian Olympic Association to review Li Ning deal amid China protests

NEW DELHI, June 19 (Reuters) - The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will review its tie-up with sportswear maker Li Ning following a public backlash against Chinese companies though Vivo will stay on as title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL), sports officials told Reuters.

Chinese companies in India are facing a backlash after the killing this week of 20 Indian soldiers by Chinese forces in a Himalayan border dispute.

A wave of anti-China sentiment has led the IOA to reconsider its association with Chinese company Li Ning, its apparel partner.

"We have a tie-up with them until the Tokyo Olympics," IOA secretary-general Rajeev Mehta told Reuters.

"We'll discuss the matter in our annual general meeting. Our approach will always be country-first."

Reuters has contacted Li Ning for comment.

There have also been demands on social media for Chinese smartphone maker Vivo to be dropped as the title sponsor of the country's popular Twenty20 cricket league.

Former test spinner Harbhajan Singh tweeted: "Ban all Chinese products".

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal questioned whether dropping Vivo, which bagged the 2018-22 IPL title rights for 21.9 billion rupees ($287.21 million), would serve any purpose.

"People are naturally emotional but we have to differentiate -- whether it's helping the Chinese companies, or their sponsorship is helping India's cause," Dhumal told Reuters.

"Rather than the money going back to China, if that's retained here as sponsorship money, and I'm able to pay tax to the government, that's helping India's cause, isn't it?"

Vivo did not respond to a Reuters request to comment.

Dhumal said the BCCI would not engage any Chinese company in stadium construction but sponsorship was a different issue.

"We are not giving any building contract to any Chinese company, when money flows out of BCCI to China. This is the other way round."

$1 = 76.25 Indian rupees Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Toby Davis

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