UEFA and FIFA silent as Israeli assault on Gaza hits 40 days

15 Nov 2023 05:53pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX by AFP
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX by AFP

ISTANBUL - The Israeli military assault on civilians seeking refuge in hospitals and United Nations (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.

The double standards of UEFA and FIFA are quite evident in the case of Israel as when Russia launched a war against its western neighbour 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, reported Anadolu Agency.

Over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and ground offensives since Oct 7. Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or fully destroyed.

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.

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

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

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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.

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. - BERNAMA-ANADOLU