Remove UEFA 2013 European Under-21 Championship from Israel
  • Petitioned UEFA President Michel Platini

This petition was delivered to:

UEFA President Michel Platini

Remove UEFA 2013 European Under-21 Championship from Israel

    1. Red Card Israeli Racism
    2. Petition by

      Red Card Israeli Racism

      London, United Kingdom

“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). It took three months of hunger strike and the near death of a Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, for the Israeli authorities to agree to a release deal in July 2012. This is a sportsman whom Israel held for three years without charge or trial under the 'Unlawful Combatants Law', which is itself illegal under international law. Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois and Ramallah player Mohammed Nimr are also being held by Israel without charge. We maintain that a state which holds sportsmen as political prisoners is unfit to host an international sporting event. We, therefore, call on UEFA to withdraw the honour of hosting the 2013 European Under-21 championship from Israel.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Red Card Israeli Racism wishes to thank all those who endorsed the campaign

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      In a letter published in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/may/27/uefa-insensitivity-to-palestinians-plight Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu joined forces with Frédéric Kanouté and 18 other prominent figures to deplore UEFA's insensitivity to "the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel." They contrasted this with UEFA's stated determination to stamp out racism in the sport.

      The under-21 tournament is going ahead on June 5-18, but the Red Card campaign has shone a spotlight on UEFA's shameless behaviour in allowing Israel, in the words of the Tutu/Kanouté letter, "to use a prestigious football occasion to whitewash its racist denial of Palestinian rights and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land." This message has been widely publicised in the media, assisted by the presence in the UK of Palestinian footballer, former political prisoner and hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak: www.facebook.com/Sarsak2013UKTour.

    2. Palestinian plight hits UEFA spotlight

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Decision to host high-profile event in Israel has fuelled criticism of European football's governing body. (Jonathan Cook, Al Jazeera, 04 Jun 2013)

      With Europe's most talented young footballers preparing for the kick-off of the under-21 championships on Wednesday, Israelis are celebrating the biggest footballing coup in their history.

      The tournament, which opens with a match between Israel and Norway, will be broadcast to 140 countries. Some 170,000 tickets have been sold for the 15 matches, with thousands of fans arriving from England, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy as well as European politicians and more than 100 scouts from the world's top clubs.

      But the decision to host the high-profile event in Israel has fuelled criticism of European football's governing body, UEFA, from a coalition of global statesmen, Palestinian leaders, international footballers and human rights activists. Continue reading http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/06/201364114012747876.html

    3. Reached 8,000 signatures
    4. Protesters in Nyon, France, confront UEFA president re. Israel

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer
      PROTEST FORCES PLATINI TO DEFEND UEFA UNDER-21 FINALS IN ISRAEL

      RED CARD ISRAELI RACISM NEWS RELEASE INCLUDES STILLS AND VIDEO LINKS (Pictures courtesy of Euro-Palestine) PROTEST FORCES PLATINI TO DEFEND UEFA UNDER-21 FINALS IN ISRAEL Pro-Palestinian campaigners occupy entrance to UEFA's Swiss HQ Platini says he will "think about" Israel hosting Euro 2013 6,000 signature petition handed over, more protests planned Dozens of pro-Palestinian campaigners brought growing anger over Israel hosting this year's European under-21 football finals right to UEFA's door on Friday (January 25), forcing the organisation's president Michel Platini to grant them a hearing at his headquarters in Nyon , Switzerland.

    5. Reached 5,000 signatures
    6. Frédéric Kanouté Statement on Palestine (from his website)

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      I received the statement on Palestine from friends, asking if I am willing to sign - I, along with many other footballers, agreed to sign it as a gesture of solidarity with an occupied people.

      Thank you all for the thousands of messages of support you sent. Unfortunately, there are some emails and comments on social media criticising us footballers, for expressing views that are shared by many European and world citizens. It is very sad that some people are pressurising us and our clubs to silence the signatories and censor our freedom of thought.

      Freedom of speech and the rule of law are key components of a democratic society, this is what we in Europe advocate to the rest of the world.
      http://www.kanoute.com/Frédéric-Kanouté-Statement-on-Palestine_ad-id!36.ks

    7. Premier League players call on Uefa to remove Israel as European U-21 hosts

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Uefa is under pressure to reconsider plans to stage next summer’s European Under-21 Championship in Israel after a group of leading footballers, including Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, issued a statement condemning the decision to ‘reward’ the country following recent military action in Gaza.

      The group of players, from the Premier League and major leagues throughout Europe and the Far East, includes Hazard, Didier Drogba, Abou Diaby and five Newcastle players – Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tioté, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/news/9715577/Premier-League-players-call-on-Uefa-to-remove-Israel-as-European-U-21-hosts.html

    8. Guardian: Footballers condemn plans to hold U21 championship in Israel

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      A group of Premier League footballers and players in other major European leagues have condemned plans to hold the Under-21 European championship in Israel next year, saying it will be seen as a "reward" for this month's assault on Gaza in which young people playing football were killed when a sports stadium was bombed.

      The signatories, who include Eden Hazard of Chelsea, Abou Diaby of Arsenal and five Newcastle players – Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tioté, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba – also criticised Israel's continued detention without charge or trial of two Palestinian footballers.

      Several former Premier League players have also signed the letter, including Didier Drogba and Frédéric Kanouté, both of whom now play in China. Players with QPR, Stoke, Blackburn and Ipswich are among the signatories along with footballers in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey...
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/30/footballers-u21-european-championship-israel

      Footballers condemn plans to hold U21 European championship in Israel

      A group of Premier League footballers and players in other major European leagues have condemned plans to hold the Under-21 European championship in Israel next year, saying it will be seen as a "reward" for this month's assault on Gaza in which young people playing football were killed when a sports stadium was bombed.

    9. EUROPEAN FOOTBALLERS DECLARE SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      We, as European football players, express our solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom. The latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the death of over a hundred civilians, was yet another stain on the world's conscience.[...]
      It is unacceptable that children are killed while they play football. Israel hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship, in these circumstances, will be seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values.
      Despite the recent ceasefire, Palestinians are still forced to endure a desperate existence under occupation, they must be protected by the international community. All people have the right to a life of dignity, freedom and security.[...]
      http://www.kanoute.com/EUROPEAN-FOOTBALLERS-DECLARE-SUPPORT-FOR-PALESTINE_ad-id!35.ks

    10. DES FOOTBALLEURS EUROPEENS SOUTIENNENT LA PALESTINE

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Nous, footballeurs européens, exprimons notre solidarité avec le peuple de Gaza qui vit depuis trop longtemps en état de siège, et dont on refuse les droits humains les plus fondamentaux : la dignité et la liberté. Les derniers bombardements israéliens à Gaza, provoquant la mort d’une centaine de civils, a été une nouvelle offense à la conscience du monde.[...]

      Il est inadmissible que des enfants soient tués alors qu’ils jouent simplement au football, notamment à la veille où Israël va accueillir l’UEFA des moins de 21 ans, se voyant ainsi récompensé alors qu’il commet des actes contraires aux valeurs du Sport.

      Malgré le récent cessez-le-feu, les Palestiniens doivent encore subir une éprouvante vie sous occupation. Ils doivent être protégés par la communauté internationale car tout homme a le droit d’aspirer à une vie faite de dignité, de liberté et de sécurité. [...]

      http://www.kanoute.com/DES-FOOTBALLEURS-EUROPEENS-SOUTIENNENT-LA-PALESTINE_ad-id!35-l!fr.ks

    11. Reached 4,000 signatures
    12. Gaza youth commend Sarsak for not Normalising with Apartheid Israel

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhbYQ2joEHE&feature=youtu.be

      Mahmoud Sarsak on his refusal of an invitation sent by FC Barcelona to attend its October Clasico against Real Madrid.: "I announce my readiness to meet Barcelona or any other Spanish club outside of the context of a joint invitation with Gilad Shalit, inviting me as a Palestinian athlete who experienced... the suffering of a hunger strike for freedom and dignity."

      Blogger Shahd Abusalama, who with other Gaza youth produced a video in support of Sarsak’s decision said, “It was clear that Israel was going to use this platform to beautify their image in front of the watching global audience who are ignorant about the practices of occupation soldiers such as Shalit. We are proud of Mahmoud Sarsak for refusing to legitimise this attempt by Barcelona FC to equate Israeli occupation forces with Palestinians living under Israeli Apartheid.”

      Gaza youth commend Mahmoud's Sarsak for not Normalising with Apartheid Israel

      هذه رسالة شكر وتقدير للاعب كرة القدم الفلسطيني الذي ناضل من أجل نيل حريته باضرابه عن الطعام لمدة 96 يوم ؛ الأسير المحرر محمود السرسك نثمن على رفضه حضور مباراة برشلونة ضد ريال مدريد بعد أن علم بحضور الجندي الاسرائيلي جلعاد شاليط في نفس المباراة This is a message of

    13. Sarsak calls for Israel to be stripped of privilege of hosting UEFA 2013

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      For full statement, see http://www.bdsmovement.net/2012/mahmoud-sarsak-uefa-appeal-9826
      "...Israel does not behave like a normal state where citizens can play sport freely. Why then, should it be granted the honour of hosting the UEFA U21s championship in 2013, or the women’s U19s in 2015? As stated in a letter from Gaza sports clubs to UEFA president Michel Platini, we must not “reward Israel for its violent repression of Palestinian rights”....by allowing Israel to host it UEFA is legitimising Israel’s continued occupation, oppression and apartheid policies. There can be no place in football for segregation and oppression so prestigious tournaments cannot be allowed to take place in Israel. I call on all those who spoke out for my release and the release of the Palestinian hunger strikers, to once again show their commitment to justice and equality by insisting that UEFA move their competitions away from Israel..."

      Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak calls for Israel to be stripped of privilege of hosting UEFA football tournaments | BDSmovement.net

      Mahmoud Sarsak is a Palestinian footballer who has played for the Palestinian national team. He was released from prison by Israel in July after three years of detention and 92 days of hunger strike that was supported by people of conscience all over the world, including prominent football figures.

    14. Reached 2,500 signatures
    15. Name change to 'Red Card Israeli Racism'

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      To all signatories, the campaign has changed its name from 'Red Card Israeli Apartheid' to 'Red Card Israeli Racism'. The campaign coalition feels that 'racism' is a more widely acknowledged definition of institutionalised racial discrimination. This does not alter the fact that the crime of apartheid* as defined by the 2002 Rome Statute is applicable to Israel.

      *Apartheid is an Afrikaans term for "apartness": "a political system where racism is regulated in law through acts of parliament." In its General Comment the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination explained that while "the reference to apartheid may have been directed exclusively to South Africa... the article [condemning racial segregation and apartheid] as adopted prohibits all forms of racial segregation in all countries."

      RToP on Israeli apartheid: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/south-africa/south-africa-session-%E2%80%94-full-findings/cape-town-session-summary-of-findings

    16. Reached 2,000 signatures
    17. Press Release - Tuesday 10 July

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Campaigners welcomed news of the release of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak after three years in an Israeli jail, but vowed to continue working for an end to the system of detention under which he and hundreds of others have been detained without charge or trial.

      ”We cannot understand why UEFA ignores the other footballers still detained byIsrael and the racism and human rights abuses that have a daily impact on every area of Palestinian life, including sport,” said Geoffrey Lee, coordinator of the Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign. “Israel does not deserve to host next year’s 2013 European Under-21 championship and we urge everyone who cares about fairness in sport to sign our petition calling on Platini to move the competition to another country.”

      Film maker Ken Loach, who endorsed last year’s Palestinian call for Israel to be stripped of hosting the 2013 under 21s has backed the campaign petition.

    18. Alive and victorious: Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak home after epic

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Seventy-eight days into his hunger strike, Sarsak published a poignant “final distress call” along with fellow prisoner Akram Rikhawi. In an unforgettable sentence that spurred global action on the prisoners’ behalf, the men wrote:

      there is still enough time and the support that comes late is better than that which does not come at all. It is better that you receive us alive and victorious rather than as lifeless bodies in black bags.

      Today, Mahmoud Sarsak returned home alive and victorious to the joyous embrace of his mother. But Akram Rikhawi remains in Israeli jail in increasingly desperate conditions, along with at least two other hunger strikers.

      Mahmoud Sarsak’s victory and return is a joyful and amazing achievement that deserves to be celebrated. But even as Sarsak’s release is celebrated, Rikhawi remains at risk of death.

    19. AP: Hunger-striking Palestinian soccer player released

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel has released a member of the Palestinian national soccer team who lobbied for his freedom with a hunger strike of more than three months.
      Mahmoud Sarsak greeted well-wishers in his native Gaza on Tuesday after three years in Israeli custody without charges or trial. Israel has accused Sarsak of being active in the violent group Islamic Jihad, a claim he has denied.
      During his hunger strike, the 25-year-old athlete shed nearly half his weight. He ended the fast last month as part of a deal for his release. International sports organizations had sought his release.
      At a Gaza hospital, he emerged from an ambulance and kissed his parents and siblings.
      Israel had said earlier that he was to be released Tuesday.

    20. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Anna Rawlings HELSINKI, FINLAND, FINLAND
      • over 1 year ago

      We should ensure that countries that blatantly break human rights and international law are given a clear message of disapproval by the rest of the world.

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    • Chad Brazier ONTARIO, CANADA
      • over 1 year ago

      Rewarding Israel with this high-profile event will in no way encourage sober reflection of its inhuman policies towards the Palestinian people.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rami Khayal MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 1 year ago

      Football is meant to show racism the red card, Israel is the epitome of racism; it is apartheid.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ana Baeza SANTIAGO, CHILE
      • over 1 year ago

      I protest against Israel Apartheid

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eduardo Karmy SANTIAGO, CHILE
      • over 1 year ago

      Very important

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