RCIR renews call for change to venue for UEFA Women’s U19 finals from Israel

RCIR renews call for change to venue for UEFA Women’s U19 finals from Israel

The campaign wrote to Mr Platini, copied to all other Executive Committee members, calling for the Women’s U19 finals to be moved in the following letter.

Dear Mr Platini,

On 13/12/13 we wrote calling on you to move the 2015 Women’s Under-19 Finals from Israel to another country.

Since then Israel’s war crimes have multiplied and a wave of anti-Arab hatred has spread across that country, making the position of Palestinians both within and outside Israel more precarious than ever. There has been a profound adverse effect on Palestinian football.

We cannot fully list Israel’s crimes against Palestinian football here – they are far too many. For a detailed account we recommend the blog of PFA International Officer Susan Shalabi Molano at http://xssportpal.blogspot.co.uk/.

However, we call particular attention to the following offences committed during the past year:

  • the killing of 27 sports persons through the bombardment of civilians in Gaza last summer
  • the shooting dead of three footballers in the West Bank – Saji Darwish, Oda’i Nafez Jabr and Mohammad Al Qatri (n.b. Mohammad appears to have been executed after his arrest)
  • the widely publicized attack on cousins Jawhar Nasr Halabiyeh and Adam Halabiyeh that left them permanently disabled; their subsequent detention on returning from hospital in Jordan
  • the eight-month incarceration of Sameh Maraabeh without charge and the assassination of his character in the world’s press by the Israeli Sports Minister
  • the bombardment of 30 Gazan football clubs and persistent blocking of plans for new facilities in the West Bank
  • the persistent refusal of permission for players, staff and officials to travel – despite the launch of the FIFA Task Force mechanism to facilitate the same[1].

It is no surprise therefore that Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of the AFC has called for the imposition of sanctions against the IFA, citing “illegal Israeli practices”[2]. We would remind you that the IFA has frequently been censured for its poor record in combating racism within Israeli football, and that it was taken to court in October to defend the racial segregation of the Israeli children’s league. We wrote to you about this last matter on the 7th November.

Against such a background, the hosting by Israel of the Women’s Under-19 Finals is perverse and reprehensible. It will indeed be seen by the world as “a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values”[3].

If – as seems highly likely – the Teddy Kollek Stadium in West Jerusalem is to be a match venue, UEFA will once again be guilty of arranging prestige fixtures in internationally disputed territory and thereby of promoting the illegal annexation of that city.

We call on you once again to move the Finals to another country.

Yours sincerely,

Red Card Israeli Racism campaign

[1]     including refusal of permission for Sameh Maraabeh and three others to attend the Asian Cup Finals last month

[2]     http://english.alarabiya.net/en/sports/2014/12/19/Asian-head-wants-illegal-Israel-practices-stopped.html

[3]     borrowed from the footballers’ statement of 29/11/12 at http://www.kanoute.com/EUROPEAN-FOOTBALLERS-DECLARE-SUPPORT-FOR-PALESTINE_ad-id!35.ks

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