Soccer Fans Punished For Waving Palestinian Flags

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Last week it was reported the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) imposed fines on Scottish and Irish football clubs due to fans who waved the Palestinian flag during recent matches. The fans also chanted pro-Palestine slogans during the European matches, according to the European news source, Scotland Now.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for association football (“soccer” for those of us in America) in Europe and part of Asia. In Europe, it is the governing body of the sport.

A UEFA spokesman said that the teams had violated UEFA disciplinary regulations. These regulations state that the teams are liable for any “inappropriate behavior” of their team’s fans.

This includes  “the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or provocative nature.”

UEFA said that they consider Palestinian flag to be a “political symbol”

But Christian Visser, a Dutch attorney who focuses on law as it relates to soccer, noted on Twitter that Ajax Amsterdam supporters are well known for identifying with Israel and wave the Israeli flag during games.

One commentator on this double standard, Adri Nieuwhof, explains that Visser told him that “it is surprising that UEFA imposes a fine for displaying a flag of a country that is a member of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation. The argument that Palestine is embroiled in a conflict with Israel is weak. If one follows UEFA’s argumentation, the showing of flags of countries like Russia and Israel should also be fined.”

That’s a very good point. Why is a flag only “political” when it is Palestinian?

(Article by Zeidy David and M.A. Hussein)

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