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Ellington Amongst Players in Israel Protest
Friday, 30th Nov 2012 20:53

Town striker Nathan Ellington is amongst a large number of players from throughout Europe to have signed a letter urging UEFA to rethink its plans to hold next year’s European U21 Championships in Israel in the wake of the “latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza”.

Demba Ba (Newcastle), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Leon Best (Blackburn), former West Ham man Frédéric Kanouté and ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba are amongst those to join Ellington, who is currently on loan at Scunthorpe, in condemning UEFA’s plans.

“We, as European football players, express our solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom,” the letter reads.

“The latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the death of over a hundred civilians, was yet another stain on the world's conscience.

“We are informed that on 10 November 2012 the Israeli army bombed a sports stadium in Gaza, resulting in the death of four young people playing football, Mohamed Harara and Ahmed Harara, 16 and 17 years old; Matar Rahman and Ahmed Al Dirdissawi, 18 years old.

“We are also informed that since February 2012 two footballers with the club Al Amari, Omar Rowis, 23, and Mohammed Nemer, 22, have been detained in Israel without charge or trial.

“It is unacceptable that children are killed while they play football. Israel hosting the UEFA U21 European Championship, in these circumstances, will be seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values.”

Previously a number of pro-Palestinian groups as well as the Palestine Football Association's president Jibril Rajoub have written to UEFA president Michel Platini calling on him to move the competition, but without success.

Platini responded: "We cannot hold the Israel FA responsible for the political situation in the region or for legal procedures in place in its country.

“You know better than anyone that it is not by punishing people and isolating them that we achieve our aims. It is through dialogue that solutions are found.”

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