“For athletes in Palestine, there is no real freedom of movement and the risks of being detained or even killed are always looming before their eyes” (Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub, June 2012)
Yet again the hypocrisy of international sports associations is there for everyone to see. Last month UEFA announced strict new guidelines for dealing with racism in football. They claim that they now support “campaigns attempting to banish this evil from football and society”. They go on to state that they “have cooperated in staging events, issuing publications, and using the massive public and commercial platform of Europe’s biggest football matches to press home a message of zero tolerance for any form of racism and discrimination, in favour of more respect for diversity”. What a load of bollocks.
The same UEFA kicked of the Under 21 European Championship today in that bastion of freedom and tolerance……Israel!
Michel Platini is clearly taking the piss. Anyone whose able to think rationally will be aware that the system that exists in Israel today has a striking resemblance to the one that operated in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. It’s called Apartheid, Michel, and has got naff all to do with respect for diversity. In fact UEFA are using the “ commercial platform of Europe’s biggest football matches” to show support for racial segregation and the subjugation of the Palestinian people.
Some people seem to think that we should keep sport and politics in different courts ,well the Israeli military On November 10, last year, bombed a sports stadium in Gaza resulting in the death of four young people who were playing football. So perhaps people would think a little differently if it was their children being blown to pieces.
Corporate sports associations should tread carefully when they try applying morals to their aims and principles. The lure of money will always sway the powers that be and leave them vainly trying to explain their actions. Just look at the Olympics in Beijing or Formula 1 in Bahrain.
The most effective thing we as ‘consumers’ can do to combat these acts of double standards is to turn off our television and ignore these sporting circuses. Clearly this is difficult because, as sports fans, we wish to see the very best competing on the world stage. But if we do nothing advertising revenues keep on rolling in and countries like Israel get green light to continue their repression.