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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Pro-Palestine protest ahead of Newport match

PROTESTS against Israel's UEFA membership will take place ahead of the nation's women's football side taking on their Welsh counterparts in Newport.
The march, led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), will start from the Westgate Hotel at 5pm before finishing at Rodney Parade tomorrow, where the two teams meet for their EURO 2017 qualifying group game.

The organisation leading the protest, which was founded in 1982, claim that there is 'no fair play in Israel', a country which is 'illegally occupying Palestine'.

Betty Hunter, the honorary president of PSC, said: "Wales women will be playing against a country which routinely prevents Palestinian people from playing football and competing in tournaments, a team which should be kicked out of UEFA and FIFA.
"The rules of FIFA and UEFA are clear that respect for the rights of all should be exercised by member states.
"It is time to put this into practice and take action against Israel for its continued destruction of Palestinian communities and their denial of rights to Palestinians."
Mrs Hunter claims that football fans are 'increasingly' protesting against the continued participation of Israel in international football, referring to Scottish MEP Alyn Smith's recent letter to FIFA.
Signed by 66 MEPs, the letter urges FIFA to 'enforce its own rules' that prohibit clubs playing in the league of another country without agreement between both countries.
Mrs Hunter said: "Israel has no right to play in international football until its illegal occupation ends and Palestinian people people can exercise their human rights fully, including their right to play football freely."
Israeli clubs have been accepted into European club competitions since 1991, with the side returning to the European leg of World Cup qualifying the following year.
In 1993, the UEFA Executive Committee agreed on a provisional admission of the Israel Football Association (IFA) before the nation received full UEFA membership in 1994.
According to UEFA, Israel asked for affiliation 'due to the political situation' in the early 1990s as well as in an effort to 'contribute to the development of football' in the country.
With Wales eager to claim their second win of the group stages in their bid to qualify for the tournament in the Netherlands, Mrs Hunter is adamant that the presence of the protesters will not affect their game.
She added: "Of course we want Wales to win and Israel to lose. The Israeli athletes are representing a state that are illegally occupying another and do not deserve to be facing Wales."
UEFA declined to comment, while the Football Association of Wales (FAW) were approached for comment.

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