March 6, 2024
67 TDs and Senators call on FIFA and UEFA to expel Israel from European and international competition – Chris Andrews TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Sport, Chris Andrews TD, has welcomed that 67 TDs and Senators have co-signed a letter to FIFA and UEFA calling for Israeli national teams and Israeli clubs to be expelled from all European and international tournaments until the genocide in Gaza ends.

The letter has been signed by all TDs and Senators from Sinn Féin, Labour Party, Social Democrats and People Before Profit, as well as several independents, and TDs from the Green Party and Aontú.

The call coincides with this week’s visit to Dublin by Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Football Association and Chair of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, whose engagements included a meeting the Ireland Palestine Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group alongside Palestinian Ambassador Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid.

Teachta Andrews said:

“For five months, the world has watched in horror as over 30,000 Palestinians have been brutally murdered by Israeli forces, with hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes, while more than half a million Palestinians now face famine and starvation.

“What we are witnessing is barbaric. There is an onus on us as parliamentarians to use every avenue possible to bring pressure to bear on Israel to end the slaughter, and to agree to an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

“There is also an onus on the international community too, and that must include international sporting bodies.

“We saw, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a unanimous and correct approach taken by international sporting organisations to remove Russia, and Russian clubs, from international and European sporting competitions.

“Yet when it comes to the atrocities being carried out day in and day out by Israel against Palestinians, international sporting bodies have continued to look the other way.

“This hypocrisy is reprehensible and must be called out.

“We saw last month, when Israel played Ireland in a basketball qualifier, how the Israeli war machine uses sporting events as tools for propaganda and to spread misinformation.

“Sporting bodies should not be complicit in that, and I want to acknowledge the tireless campaigning work over the past number of months by Irish Sport for Palestine, a group of Irish sportspersons past and present, who have used their voice and platform to call out Israeli sport-washing and the hypocrisies of international sporting bodies.

“We know how important sport boycotts and sporting sanctions can be. Sporting boycotts remain as important now as they did in the fight to end apartheid in South Africa. Boycotts work and sanctions work.

“As members of the Oireachtas, we must support such efforts and that is why we have written to FIFA and UEFA calling for the Israeli national team, and Israeli clubs, to be expelled from all European and international tournaments until the genocide in Gaza ends.

“I would like to thank all of the TDs and Senators who joined this call. All parties in opposition – Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Social Democrats, People Before Profit and Aontú – have signed this letter, and there has been support from numerous independents.

“I would also urge government parties, in particular the Ministers for Sport, to heed and join us in this call, just as they did when it came to calls to exclude Russia from international sporting competitions.

“Israel cannot be allowed to use sporting events to promote its war machine against the Palestinian people. Sporting bodies and sporting communities must stand up for human rights, justice and freedom.”

The letter can be read here:

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