Former FA chairman accuses football body of ‘tardy double standards’ for rejecting Israel Wembley tribute

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Former FA chairman accuses football body of ‘tardy double standards’ for rejecting Israel Wembley tribute

David Bernstein branded the shocking move "a continuation of the double standards football has shown in dealing with recent tragedies."

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

The Wembley arch is lit in the colours of the French flag after terror attacks in Paris
The Wembley arch is lit in the colours of the French flag after terror attacks in Paris

A former chairman of the Football Association has flatly condemned its refusal to illuminate the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israeli flag in the wake of the cold-blooded torture, kidnap, rape and murder of hundreds of Israeli men, women and children by the terror group Hamas.

Speaking to Jewish News after the organisation also banned Israeli flags at the England v Australia friendly match at the stadium tomorrow evening, David Bernstein said: “I’m deeply disappointed at this decision but not at all surprised. It is a tardy reaction to the horrors in Israel. This is a continuation of the double standards that football has shown in dealing with recent tragedies.”

Rather than hold a specific tribute to murdered Israelis, the FA will instead ask players to wear black armbands and observe a period of silence “to remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine”. The FA has rejected an appropriate tribute despite its president Prince William “utterly condemning” Hamas’ unparalleled crimes.

Bernstein linked the decision to the FA’s attitude to Spurs’ fans use of the racist anti-Jewish slur ‘Yid’. He said: “I have complained on many occasions that the Y-word has been chanted by Spurs fans, and against them by supporters of other clubs. This would never be allowed were the victims from other minority groups. There is a clear linkage between the reaction to last weekend’s events and the longstanding Y-word issue.”

The FA statement added that flags, replica kits and other representations of nationality not linked to England or Australia will not be permitted inside Wembley on Friday night.

The FA will also promote the British Red Cross emergency appeal which has been set up to help people caught up in the humanitarian crisis.

The Wembley arch is routinely lit up to pay tribute to tragedies or terror attacks.

FIFA, meanwhile, is coming under increased pressure over its decision to gift the recent 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the country that hosts the Hamas terror leadership that masterminded last weekend’s bloodshed.

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