Dear Mr Platini,
CHANGE OF VENUE FOR UEFA UNDER 21 FINALS
Thank you for meeting campaigners at your January Executive Committee meeting in Nyon. You discussed our call to move the UEFA U21 finals tournament from Israel. We wish to take issue with you on two points.
Politics v Morality.
You said that you could not change the venue of the finals since that would bring politics into sport. But the politics are already there, regrettably.
For us the change has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Rather, it concerns morality. UEFA should occupy the moral high ground. Others have expressed this forcibly and the latest is former French minister M-G Buffet who expressed the importance of sport’s “moral code” very clearly in his letter to you on 7 March. He noted how holding the Under 21 finals in Israel was “incompatible with sporting values”.
Israel v Ukraine
In your earlier meeting with Israel’s President Peres, you likened arguments for moving the U21 finals from Israel to arguments for moving the Euro 2012 finals from Ukraine. We assert that the two situations are not comparable. Yes, both countries suffer from racism on the terraces. But no, the situation in Israeli society is fundamentally different.
In Israel racism is actually incorporated in the law of the land; there are sixty racially discriminatory laws against Palestinians. International law on treatment of minorities is ignored. Ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian minority peaked in 1948 and continues today. As the Russell Tribunal on Palestine pointed out at the UN on 29 November last year, the Israeli government imposes severe “collective punishment” on the 5 million Palestinians under its control.
In consideration of these facts, and in line with UEFA’s own policy concerning racism, we believe that UEFA action to remove this tournament to a European country would demonstrate a strong commitment to real sporting values. We are confident that Football Associations in England and Wales are ready and able to accept the host’s role.
Please do not sully the name of UEFA on the grounds of expediency by sticking to your original, flawed decision.
cc Presidents of UEFA member associations