The Campaign wrote to the four UK home nation FAs and also to the FA of Ireland as follows:
“Please find attached our letter to Michel Platini, President of UEFA, asking UEFA to transfer the proposed venue for UEFA’s Women’s Under 19 Finals from Israel to another country. We ask this because of Israel’s institutionalised racism, abuse of Palestinian rights and continued violation of international law.
We would very much appreciate your Football Association together with the other home nation Associations introducing this proposal at the next UEFA Executive Committee meeting on 23 -24 January 2014, and then making a formal proposal at the UEFA annual Congress on 27 March 2014.
Football suffers particularly from Israeli racism. The Palestinian Football Association highlighted five specific abuses affecting Palestinian football at the 2013 FIFA annual Congress:
- restrictions on movement of players and officials;
- restrictions on infrastructure development;
- restrictions on shipments of equipment;
- interference in the arrangement of friendly international games;
- severe ongoing human rights abuses
FIFA established a Task Force in 2013 with the goal of eliminating these abuses. The Palestinian FA and our campaign feel that this is unlikely to succeed. We feel stronger action needs to be taken.
There is a danger that if the finals remain hosted by the IFA some teams and individuals may be obliged to make the difficult decision of boycotting games in Israel. It would be better for UEFA to take such decisions out of their hands and let them concentrate on the football. We hope you will consider our supporting our campaign to bring pressure to bear on UEFA.”
“Dear Mr Platini,
CHANGE OF VENUE FOR UEFA’S 2015 WOMEN’S UNDER 19 FINALS
In June 2013, UEFA held the finals of its Men’s Under 21 tournament in Israel despite widespread calls to change the venue because of Israeli racism against Palestinians, which the UN calls “tantamount to Apartheid”.
Yet UEFA is once again planning to condone Israeli racism by allowing Israel to host UEFA’s 2015 Women’s Under 19 finals.
Throughout Europe, commercial and cultural initiatives to demand change in Israel’s repressive policies are growing in size and strength. Sport can play a similar role. You yourself, in September 2010, recognized the impact of the restrictions on movement on the ability of Palestinian footballers to play the game. We, therefore, urge UEFA to move the proposed 2015 Women’s Under 19 Finals to another country.
Public criticism of UEFA has been voiced by several eminent figures including the late Stephane Hessell (co-author of the UN Human Rights Charter) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Frederick Kanoute and 52 other international footballers added their voices. Former French minister Marie-George Buffet stressed the importance of sport’s “moral code” and said that holding the Men’s Under 21 finals in Israel was “incompatible with sporting values”.
Israeli repression of Palestinians has not eased. The picture painted at a UN meeting by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine on 29 November 2012 is still valid:
- Over sixty racially discriminatory laws against Palestinian citizens of Israel. International law on the treatment of minorities is disregarded.
- Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, which peaked in 1948, continues apace today, most notably in the Negev where the Prawer Plan aims to remove some 40,000 Palestinians.
- In the West Bank, “collective punishment” deprives Palestinians of basic rights to health, education, movement and above all water; Gaza is a prison.
If UEFA takes a principled stand and transfers the 2015 Women’s Under 19 finals, it will demonstrate a strong commitment to the values football claims to holds dear.
cc Mr Lennart Johansson, Honorary President, UEFA
cc Presidents of UEFA member associations”