Over 50 international footballers have joined anti-apartheid protesters in London to demand that the European football’s governing body, UEFA, calls off the planned under-21 European football championships in Israel, Press TV reports.
The hundred-strong protesters, who gathered in central London where UEFA is holding its annual congress, said the body is complicit in whitewashing the Israeli regime’s crimes if it allows Tel Aviv to host the tournament.
Meanwhile, Palestinian footballer and hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak and Jewish comedian Alexei Sayle used the rally to hand a letter to the UEFA president Michel Platini, calling for cancelation of the under-21 event.
“Israel exercises apartheid and exercises a program of injustice against Palestinian sportsmen and women, carries out an extensive arrest policy of Palestinians with a sporting ambition and hope of representing their country in international events,” Sarsak told Press TV.
“Israel tries to kill our sporting hope by bombing stadium and sports facilities,” he added.
Sayle also condemned the move as part of efforts toward normalization of Israeli crimes.
Participants in the protest, organized by Innovative Minds campaign group who carried placards reading “End Israeli Apartheid” and “Kick Israeli Racism out of UEFA”.
They said the European football body should prevent the regime from hosting the under-21 tournament if it seriously seeks to end racism in football because the regime is an epitome of racism and a boycott by UEFA would send a strong message to racists.