Join us Donate
In Opinion

The UK Government have publicly endorsed Israel’s right to host UEFA Championship even though Israel has not addressed their ‘serious concerns’ about freedom of movement’ . Make sure you make your voice heard that football doesn’t come before human rights. 

From: [email protected]

image of footballs by Joe Shlabotnik
football credit Joe Shlabotnik, use does not imply endorsement of the campaign

Subject: UEFA Under-21 football tournament

10 April 2013

Thank you for your email of 15 March to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the UEFA Under-21 football tournament being held in Israel.  I have been asked to reply to you.

We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which we raise regularly with the Israeli authorities.  Details of our concerns can be found in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights, available at: http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/human-rights-in-countries-of-concern/israel-and-the-opts/.

However, we do not believe that these concerns should prevent Israel from hosting the European Under-21 football tournament.  We believe that it is important and correct that the responsibility for the decision on whether to award a country the right to host an international sporting competition rests with the international federation concerned, in this case UEFA.

Finally, we remain deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of movement.  Through our Embassy in Tel Aviv, we have lobbied the appropriate authorities on the issue of movement and access. We continue to work closely with the Quartet and EU partners, and to call on Israel to ease restrictions on access on all occasions not just the UEFA Under-21 football tournament.

We also hope that UEFA will do all that they can to ensure that when the tournament takes place, there are genuine, active and successful steps to use football to promote peace and to break down barriers between Israelis and Palestinians.