Double standards: UEFA, FIFA keep silent on Israel's attacks against Gaza

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:53 GMT
Following Russia's war on Ukraine in Feb. 2022, European and world football governing bodies sanctioned Moscow but fail to sanction Israel for its ongoing attacks on Gaza Strip.
Double standards: UEFA, FIFA keep silent on Israel's attacks against Gaza

Following Russia's war on Ukraine in Feb. 2022, European and world football governing bodies sanctioned Moscow but fail to sanction Israel for its ongoing attacks on Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military assault on civilians seeking refuge in hospitals and UN schools in the Gaza Strip entered its 40th day on Wednesday, but neither the European nor the world football's governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA, issued a condemnation statement or sanctioned Tel Aviv, unlike in the case of Russia's war on its western neighbor Ukraine in February last year.

The double standards of UEFA and FIFA are quite evident in the case of Israel as when Russia launched a war against its western neighbor Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the two main football bodies issued statements the same day, condemning the war and imposing sanctions on the fourth day against Moscow, suspending Russian clubs and their national teams from participating in all football competitions.

The top regulatory authorities governing European and international football did not suspend Israeli clubs and national teams from their competitions despite their continuous onslaught on Gaza.

At least 11,240 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and ground offensives since Oct. 7, according to the latest figures from Palestinian authorities. Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or fully destroyed.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at 1,200, according to official figures.

UEFA previously said in a statement that it "shares the international community’s significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe."

"As the governing body of European football, UEFA is working tirelessly to develop and promote football according to common European values such as peace and respect for human rights, in the spirit of the Olympic Charter," read the statement.

"We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people."

UEFA said it is "dealing with this situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency.”

In addition, FIFA condemned Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, calling for "all parties to restore peace" via talks.

"FIFA condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts. Violence is never a solution and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue," the world football's governing body said in a statement.

"FIFA also continues to express its solidarity to the people affected by this conflict," it said.

Russian clubs and national teams were barred from international competitions, and are still not allowed to participate in FIFA World Cup or UEFA EURO competitions.

The Portuguese national team replaced Russia after they were banned from participating in the UEFA Women's EURO 2022. Russia were also barred by FIFA from competing in the men's 2022 World Cup held in November-December in Qatar.

UEFA, FIFA condemn Brussels shooting but silent over Israeli assault

The UEFA and FIFA condemned the Brussels shooting on Oct. 16.

Two Swedish nationals were killed and another injured in a shooting near the King Baudouin Stadium.

UEFA abandoned the Belgium vs. Sweden (EURO 2024 qualifying match) for security reasons, and a minute's silence was observed during the other qualifiers to pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels attack.

However, they did not pay tribute to those killed in Gaza.

On Oct. 17, more than 500 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza Ashraf al-Qudra told Anadolu.

Later, there was a large-scale protest in London against an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza hospital, but neither FIFA nor UEFA condemned the action.

Separately in October, UEFA rescheduled Israeli national teams, including women's teams, matches, and Israel had to play their home games outside the country for security reasons.

On Sunday, Kosovo beat Israel 1-0 in a rearranged EURO 2024 Group I qualifying match.

This was the first appearance of the Israeli national team abroad since the Tel Aviv war on the Gaza Strip. The match was supposed to be played on Oct. 15, but UEFA previously postponed it because of the conflict.

The rescheduled Israel vs. Switzerland (EURO 2024 qualifying) match will be held on Nov. 15 in Hungary.

Israeli basketball powerhouse go on to play

Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, one of the most prominent clubs in European basketball that won the top-tier Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in 2014, is still competing in the tournament.

However, many Russian clubs, including former champions CSKA Moscow, were excluded by the EuroLeague organizers due to the war, and the ban on Russian clubs was extended for the ongoing 2023-24 season.

In late October, EuroLeague announced that Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv would play all their next home games at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

The EuroLeague Basketball previously suspended Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv's game at EA7 Emporio Armani Milan amid escalating tensions with Palestine for "the terror attacks and onset of armed conflict in Israel".

On Oct. 31, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv won the match 98-90 in Italy.


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