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Press Release

ADL to FIFA: Hold Chilean Club Team Accountable for Anti-Israel Jerseys

New York, NY, January 8, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to hold the El Palestino Club soccer team accountable for violating FIFA regulations and its Code of Ethics during a soccer game on January 4, when its players replaced their standard uniform with jerseys imprinted with the outline of what they see as the map of “Palestine” in place of numerals.

ADL noted that the club team, which is affiliated with the National Association of Professional Soccer in Chile “blatantly violated FIFA regulations,” and also breached the association’s Code of Ethics.

“We are deeply troubled by reports of the highly politicized and unsportsmanlike conduct of the entire El Palestino soccer club, which deliberately brought inappropriate political imagery to the soccer field,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “This clear delegitimization of Israel by substituting for it their map of ‘Palestine’ is also antithetical to the spirit of international sports competition, and FIFA has a responsibility to hold the team accountable for its actions.  We call on El Palestino to stop using the jersey and comply with FIFA regulations.”

In a letter to FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke, the League expressed concern about the club's violation of specific FIFA codes mandating teams to “remain politically neutral” and to “refrain from offending the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions.”

“We respectfully urge you to promptly investigate this incident and to impose appropriate penalties against the El Palestino Club for its unacceptable behavior,” Mr. Foxman wrote.  “By upholding FIFA’s regulations and Code of Ethics, FIFA will reinforce the message that political statements have no place on the field of play in international soccer competition.”

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.