UEFA insensitivity to Palestinians’ plight 30May13 May 29, 2013

The Guardian    -    28 May 2013

On Friday, delegates from European football associations gathered in a London hotel for Uefa‘s annual congress (Report, 24 May). They agreed new, strict guidelines to deal with racism, suggesting a commendable determination to combat discrimination in the sport.

We find it shocking that this same organisation shows total insensitivity to the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel.

Despite direct appeals from representatives of the sport in Palestine and from anti-racist human rights campaigners across Europe, Uefa is rewarding Israel’s cruel and lawless behaviour by granting it the honour of hosting the European Under-21 finals next month.

Uefa should not allow Israel to use a prestigious football occasion to whitewash its racist denial of Palestinian rights and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

We urge Uefa to follow the brave example of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking who, on advice from Palestinian colleagues, declined to take part in an international conference in Israel. We call on Uefa, even at this late stage, to reverse the choice of Israel as a venue.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Frédéric Kanouté Footballer, John Austin Former MP, Rodney Bickerstaffe, Bob Crow, Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Caryl Churchill Playwright, Rev Garth Hewitt, Dr Ghada Karmi, Bruce Kent, Roger Lloyd Pack Actor, Ken Loach Film-maker, Michael Mansfield QC, Kika Markham Actor, Luisa Morgantini Former vice-president, European parliament, Prof Hilary Rose, Prof Steven Rose, Alexei Sayle Author and comedian, Jenny Tonge House of Lords, Dr Antoine Zahlan, Geoffrey Lee Red Card Israeli Racism, Tomas Perez Football Beyond Borders, John McHugo Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine

‱ This article was amended on 28 May 2013. The original listed “John Austin MP” as a signatory. Austin retired as an MP in 2010.

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