For many observers, the move indicates a lack of acceptance for Israel amongst several countries in the world.

In a friendly football match in Qatar between FIFA Arab Legends and FIFA World Legends, players wore uniforms carrying small national flags of 211 FIFA member states, including Israel.

The friendly match kicked off on Friday in front of more than 3,500 fans at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha ahead of the first-of-its-kind FIFA Arab Cup final.

The World Legends squad included Marcel Desailly, Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, and Lothar Matthias, while the Arab one included former Saudi player Nawaf Al-Temyat among many others. The Arab legends won on penalties after a competitive match.

Social media users shared images of the Israeli flag blacked out on Al-Temyat’s shirt, sparking debate among those who supported the act and those who did not.

Many users said defacing Israeli flag from the T-shirt is a great indication of the wider nonacceptance of Israel amongst the global society.

Al-Temyat wasn’t the only player who defaced the Israeli flag. Some images on social media also showed that Omani player Emad Al Hosni and other Arab players tried to deface the flag.

Other social media users said defacing the Israeli flag is not enough to apologize for participating in such a match. 

Among the Arab players was former Saudi striker Sami Aljaber who was criticised on social media for not doing any act that refuses Israel.

On the other hand, some social media users didn’t agree with the act by Arab players, saying Israel is a recognised state even in Qatar, calling players to stop mixing between sports and politics.

Algeria footballers withdraw

Three Algerian players refused to participate in the friendly football game in Qatar, protesting against the participation of former Israeli Chelsea manager Avram Grant.

Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saifi, and Rafik Halliche all withdrew from Grant’s involvement as coach and player for the World Legends team.

FIFA’s website did not mention the boycott in its report on the website, however the news was picked up by local pro-Palestine group Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalisaton (QAYON) who praised the Algerians for their boycott.

The Algerian team has been a long supporter of Palestine and even dedicated its win of FIFA Arab Cup to the Palestinian people.

Back in 2016, Algeria’s football team pulled out of a friendly match with Ghana also over Grant’s involvement as a head coach for the African country.

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Source: TRT World