A Chilean football club has been banned from using a shirt that has a stylised number 1 in the shape of a map of Palestine. Club Deportivo Palestino, which was founded by Palestinian immigrants in Santiago in 1920, were also fined US$1,300 (Dh4,447) by the Chilean football association after members of Chile’s Jewish community complained that the map on the shirt did not recognise the state of Israel, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The National Association of Professional Football of Chile ruled on Monday that the shirt amounted to a form of political and religious discrimination. “We will comply and pay the fine. We will not appeal,” Fernando Aguad, a Chilean Palestinian and president of Deportivo Palestino, told the EPE news agency. But on its Facebook page the Deportivo Palestino say: “For us, free Palestine will always be historical Palestine, nothing less.”
Palestino used the shirts three times this season and are currently third in the league standings, just two points adrift of the leaders. The club’s kit, consisting of a red, white and green shirt with black shorts and socks, is based on the Palestinian flag.
By replacing the numeral ‘1’ with a pre-1947 map of the region, Palestino angered Patrick Kiblisky Fried, the Jewish president of rival club Deportivo Nublense, who lodged an official complaint with the football association. The Palestinian Federation of Chile criticised the initial complaint earlier this month. “We reject the hypocrisy of those who blame this map but they talk about the occupied territory as disputed territory,” it said. Chile’s Palestinian community numbers about 350,000 and is among the largest in the world.