Premier League to stay out of Palestine flag row as big-name stars show support

Premier League chiefs have decided to leave the displaying of Palestinian flags by big-name stars up to their clubs to sort out.

But it is causing major tensions in football particularly because there is a reluctance from the Premier League, Football Association and Kick It Out to get involved.

The general rule is that there is nothing prohibiting players flying a national flag just as Paul Pogba did at Old Trafford this week or Leicester duo Wesley Fofana and Hamza Choudhury at Wembley after the FA Cup final.

However, a video has emerged of a steward at Tottenham ordering Spurs fans to take down an Israeli flag.

Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo displayed the Palestinian flag after their game against Fulham this week

But leading members of the Jewish community insist that, while displaying a flag is not a political statement, it clearly is making a point during heightened tensions in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The FA got into a row over the wearing of poppies at Wembley while Pep Guardiola was also warned about wearing a badge supporting Catalan independence.

But no-one seems willing to get involved in this one. It was noticeable that there was loud booing at Wembley when players took the knee at Wembley and again at White Hart Lane on Wednesday and the feeling was there might have been a reaction because their issue is being ignored.

One Jewish supporter wrote to FA chief executive Mark Bullingham: “Last weekend we saw a frightening display of overt antisemitism on the streets of London. Unprovoked attacks on Jews are increasing.

“As stated above, the FA took a very proactive stance in favour of Black Lives Matter. You have a moral duty to do the same for the Jewish community. You must make it very clear to players that displaying Palestinian flags fans the flames of antisemitism.”

The FA sent a generic reply to the supporter which said: “We can confirm that it is not a breach of FA Rules for any internationally recognised national flags to be displayed, either on the field of play or by fans in the stadium, as they are not deemed to be a discriminatory, political or religious message or symbol.”

Tottenham have traditional links with Judaism
Tottenham have traditional links with Judaism

Kick It Out declined to comment, suggesting it was a complex issue. The Premier League said it would leave it to the clubs to resolve with their players. But it is now having a potential backlash against other anti-racism campaigns because their campaigners have stayed silent.

Tottenham, at least, do have a policy. It said in a statement: “The Club has always considered that a football match is a time to show allegiance to a football team first and foremost.

“A football match is not an appropriate arena to display flags of any political or religious affiliation or anything that could possibly be considered inflammatory – this can include national flags during times of political conflicts, campaigns or issues.”

Euros supporters woe

England fans are set to be left out of pocket amid ticket chaos at the Euros.

UEFA have refunded supporters with tickets this week, insisting they will be given priority if greater numbers are allowed in stadiums.

However, big money corporate packages are still available and fans are also upset because many bought tickets when the exchange rate was just over one Euro to £1, now it has gone up and they are being refunded in Euros.

Many England supporters are far from happy with UEFA
Many England supporters are far from happy with UEFA

One supporter bought around £2,000 worth of tickets which means they are £200 out of pocket on current exchange rates.

Meanwhile, UEFA insist on the corporate packages that ticket money from the Euros is vital for national member associations and fans have the option not to buy if they do not want to..

Villa to back Smith

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has shown huge progress this season but the second half of the season has rather faded away.

However, Smith has done more than enough to convince the owners he is the man to take the club forward and Villa are intending to strengthen again in the market this summer.

Maguire set to make Euros

Harry Maguire is a major doubt for the Europa League final – but will be named in England’s squad for the Euros next Tuesday.

BBC’s glaring Euros omission

The BBC announced its Euro line-up on Thursday – but there was one glaring omission from its presenters.

Micah Richards will be a pundit for the Euros
Micah Richards will be a pundit for the Euros

While there is diversity in their stellar line-up of pundits from Micah Richards to Thierry Henry, there are no people of colour listed in the release when it comes to “leading and fronting” their coverage. Presenters to you and me.

Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Eilidh Barbour and Mark Chapman will lead coverage across TV and Radio. Steve Crossman, Emma Saunders and Chapman are presenting on 5Live.

When will this ever change?

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is very proud of its diverse and talented Euro 2020 line-up that reflects all competing home nations.”

TOWIE star Wright flops

Sky Sports used TOWIE reality TV star Mark Wright on their midweek show as he was a studio expert on Newcastle’s game with Sheffield United.

But that went down very negatively on social media – and it will be interesting to see if he gets called back.

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