Tuesday, 9 September 2014

UEFA punishes football fans for Palestine solidarity


In an attempt to bring the Euro 2020 competition to Jerusalem, the Israeli Football Association (IFA) has submitted a bid to UEFA – the governing body of European football. The IFA is proposing the Teddy Stadium as the location for the tournament. But this venue is also home to Israel’s ultra-racist Beitar Jerusalem team.

The Red Card Israeli Racism campaign has been pushing for the exclusion of Israel from the bidding process, reminding UEFA of Israel’s unlawful claim on Jerusalem as its “capital” and the recent massive assault on Gaza. UEFA will make a decision on 19 September.

The federation claims it does not mix sport and politics. But if UEFA awards the Jerusalem bid it will be a political decision. Israel is sure to exploit the occasion to promote an image of Jerusalem as if Palestinians do not exist.

Political symbol?

In fact, UEFA does mix sport and politics.

Last week it was reported they had imposed fines on Scottish and Irish football clubs over supporters who waved the Palestinian flag and chanted pro-Palestine slogans during European matches. UEFA apparently considers the flag of Palestine a political symbol because the conflict with Israeli forces in the region was then still ongoing, reported Scotland Now.

A UEFA spokesman told the news website that the clubs had violated UEFA disciplinary regulations which state that the clubs are liable for the inappropriate behavior of their supporters, such as “the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or provocative nature.” more

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