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 was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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