EXCLUSIVE: Premier League under pressure to respond to war in Israel

EXCLUSIVE: The Premier League are under pressure from clubs to issue a formal response to the outbreak of war in Israel, after remaining silent following last week’s terrorist attack by Hamas

  • The Premier League have not commented on the outbreak of war in Israel yet
  • Numerous top flight clubs want a statement to be made on the situation
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

The Premier League are facing calls from clubs to provide a formal response to the outbreak of war in Israel, with executives at several of them unhappy at the sport’s silence since last Friday’s terrorist attack by Hamas. 

Mail Sport has spoken to senior figures at numerous clubs who would like to express sympathy for the victims and offer some form of tribute, but are wary of taking unilateral action for fear of sparking a backlash which could endanger the safety of their own fans.

Numerous executives raised security concerns as one of their reasons for not speaking out, while others expressed fears about being seen to take sides in the Israeli/Palestine conflict. 

The lack of any response from football at all levels over the last few days has been striking, leading some clubs to complain privately about a lack of leadership.

UEFA have postponed all matches due to take place in Israel over the next fortnight in a statement that referenced the “current security situation,” but not the terrorist attacks and hundreds of casualties on both sides. 

The Premier League, headed by chief executive Richard Masters (above), are yet to formally respond to the outbreak of war in Israel

Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel last Friday, leading to hundreds of people dying

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FIFA have not issued any comment, while UEFA have not confirmed whether their will be any tributes to the victims will be paid at this week’s European Championship qualifiers despite the fact that Israel are one of their members.

The Premier League have held talks with many of the clubs over the last few days, but have yet to provide a formal response, which has caused some frustration. 

It is understood that with no top-flight fixtures until 21 October the Premier League are prepared to take their time, which sources insist is consistent with the time it took to formalise a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Premier League’s current position that any social media tributes in the interim are a matter for individual clubs has been criticised however by one club insider, who pointed out that campaigns on other social issues such as combating racism and homophobia are regularly mandated by the top-flight’s executive. 

Another club official accused the Premier League of hypocrisy given the strength of their condemnation of Russia, and their enthusiastic embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement, which even included the BLM logo being included on players’ shirts in 2020.

In addition to the sensitivities of the issues involved the Premier League’s position is also complicated by the ownership of some of their clubs. Newcastle United are owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose chairman has reiterated his country’s support for Palestine since the escalation of the conflict.

The FA also find themselves in a difficult position, and have yet to decide whether to illuminate the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israel flag during England’s friendly international against Australia on Friday, as Mail Sport reported yesterday. 

The Israeli flag was projected onto 10 Downing Street and City Hall in London over the weekend and the FA have offered similar tributes in recent years following the invasion of Ukraine and the 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

The Premier League enthusiastically embraced the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020

Downing Street showed support for Israel over the weekend, but the Premier League have remained silent for now


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