This article by Simon Lloyd was published on 23rd March at https://www.joe.co.uk/sport/bellerin-ukraine-palestine-325013.
‘The Palestinian war has been completely silenced…’
Hector Bellerin has questioned why Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has received greater attention in the media when compared to conflicts taking place elsewhere in the world.
The Real Betis right-back, who is on loan from Arsenal, has never shied away from speaking about issues outside of football, and demonstrated this again when asked for his perspective on recent events in eastern Europe.
“It is quite difficult to see that we are more interested in this war than in others,” the 27-year-old told La Media Inglesa (via Marca).
“I don’t know if it is because they are more like us or because the conflict can affect us more directly both economically and in terms of refugees.”
Bellerin then compared the coverage of events in Ukraine with that of other conflicts – namely in Yemen, Iraq and Palestine – to illustrate his point.
Bellerin compares Ukraine to Palestine, Yemen and Iraq
“The Palestinian war has been completely silenced, no one speaks about it,” he added.
“Yemen, Iraq… now Russia not being able to play in the World Cup is something that other countries have faced for many years.”
Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine last month has dominated global headlines ever since it began, its impacts being felt across the football world too.
Russia’s international team have been hit with a raft of sanctions as a result of the war, while Roman Abramovich’s relationship with Putin has ultimately forced him to sell Chelsea.
Ukraine invasion raises further questions for football
The events in Ukraine have also prompted many to pay closer attention to football’s links to other conflicts which have taken place in recent years.
Only this week, the UK government criticised Sheikh Mansour – owner of Manchester City – for meeting with Syrian president and Putin ally Bashar al-Assad in the United Arab Emirates.
Mansour, who has owned City since 2008, is the deputy prime minister of the UAE. Assad was making his first visit to an Arab country since the Syrian civil war, which began 11 years ago. Throughout that war, Assad has received military backing from Putin.
There have also been further questions about the Premier League’s decision to approve the recent Saudi takeover of Newcastle, with the kingdom embroiled in war in Yemen.