Public figures criticise FA’s selective stance on global issues, citing a lack of support for Israel during a friendly match amidst a tense geopolitical scenario.
In a recent development, the Football Association (FA) has been criticised for its decision against illuminating the iconic Wembley Stadium Arch in the colours of the Israeli flag during a friendly match between England and Australia. Notable TV host Kevin O’Sullivan voiced his discontent on Talk TV, highlighting the FA’s history of lighting up the arch to show solidarity towards various causes, including Ukraine, LGBTQ rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
O’Sullivan mentioned a perceived inconsistency in FA’s stance, accusing the association of backing away from contentious issues while readily supporting safer causes. He pointed out the FA’s reluctance to let England players don a rainbow armband during the Qatar World Cup as an example of such inconsistent behaviour. The host went on to say that the refusal to light up the arch in Israeli colours comes at a critical time, given the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, where Hamas invaded Israel, causing a significant geopolitical crisis.
“I think the FA should stand up for themselves; they should stand up for Israel tonight. Most people in this country are appalled by what has been going on in Israel…,” O’Sullivan expressed on his show. He also touched upon the broader issue of how some factions within the UK, particularly left-leaning individuals, are uncomfortable supporting Israel over Palestine in this situation.
The FA has yet to respond to the criticisms surrounding their decision not to light up the Wembley Arch in support of Israel. This situation sheds light on the broader conversation surrounding sports organisations’ roles in political and social advocacy, especially in an increasingly polarised world.