Antoine Griezmann has cut partnership ties with Huawei after the Chinese telecommunications giant was allegedly involved in developing software that could send out an alert when it identified Uighur Muslims.
The facial-recognition surveillance programme could identify someone from the minority group in a crowd and estimate their age and gender.
A document was allegedly signed by Huawei representatives showing that the company had worked with a startup called Megvii to test artificial intelligence capable of triggering an automated “Uighur alarm”.
The UN estimates that more than a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in China’s Xinjiang province.
China has denied any abuses and says its camps in the region provide vocational training and help fight extremism.
Griezmann had been an ambassador for Huawei since 2017, and he also worked with the company while at Atletico Madrid, including presenting an Atletico-branded mobile phone in 2016.
But Griezmann, a 2018 World Cup winner with France, cut ties with the company in a statement on Instagram on Thursday.
He said: ‘I announce that I am putting an end immediately to my partnership linking me with this company.’
A Huawei spokesperson said the Chinese company was saddened by Griezmann’s decision.
Commenting on the Washington Post’s report on Thursday, Huawei described the language used in the document as ‘completely unacceptable’, adding however that it was a description of functions provided by Megvii, while the document was approved not by Huawei, but by a subcontractor.
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