The Association has been criticised for the ‘mind-blowing’ decision not to light up the arch in the colours of the Israeli flag before Friday’s friendly between and Australia.
by militants on the country’s territory last weekend, the British Government had written to UK sports bodies encouraging them to mark events in Israel appropriately.
The Hamas attacks have led to the on the, with a ground invasion also reported to be a possibility.
Ahead of Friday’s friendly between England and Australia at Wembley, the FA announced players would wear black armbands and that a period of silence would be observed to remember the victims of the conflict.
The FA also confirmed flags, replica kits and other representations of nationality beyond those related to England or Australia would not be allowed inside Wembley.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer criticised the decision not to light up the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israeli flag. The arch had previously been lit in yellow and blue in an expression of solidarity with Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
The Culture Secretary posted on social media: ‘I am extremely disappointed by the FA’s decision not to light up the Wembley Stadium arch following last weekend’s horrific terrorist attacks in Israel, and have made my views clear to the FA.
‘It is especially disappointing in light of the FA’s bold stance on other terrorist attacks in the recent past. Words and actions matter. The Government is clear: we stand with Israel.’
The Board of Deputies of British Jews criticised the FA statement – pointing out that it made ‘no mention of the mass terrorist murders of hundreds of innocent Israelis last Saturday’, while the Government’s antisemitism adviser, Lord John Mann, also made his feelings clear.
He told LBC on Friday morning: ‘I made it easy for them (the FA). I said, ‘Why don’t you put up the Jewish prayer colours which have been there for thousands of years?’
‘The Wembley arch is seen by the Jewish community in north London more than any other icon, and the fact they couldn’t do that for an hour or two last night just to give that message of hope and comfort, I find depressing.
‘I find it quite mind-blowing.’
England manager Southgate was asked for his thoughts on the FA’s stance at Thursday’s pre-match press conference ahead of the Australia game, and accepted it was ‘one of the most complex situations in the world’.
Southgate said: ‘Firstly (there have been) incredibly harrowing pictures. (Our) thoughts and feelings are to everybody who has suffered, who have lost relatives and friends in these attacks. It is incredibly disturbing to see.
‘On a broader scale, in my lifetime it is one of the most complex situations in the world and I think everybody is grappling with how best to deal with that.
‘I don’t know what it is like to walk in the shoes of people on either side of that conflict. What I do know is people at the FA will have consulted with everybody they possibly can and will have tried to make the best decision with good intentions.
‘Clearly whatever decision they came to would have been criticised in one way or another, so I also recognise how difficult it was for them. I wasn’t involved in those discussions, (but) they went on for a long time I know.
‘They (FA) have decided to take the stance they have and we will get on with that.’
Teams in the EFL and Premier League will pay tribute to the victims of the conflict in their next rounds of matches.
There will also be a period of silence ahead of kick-off at the weekend’s matches in the Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and Women’s National League to ‘remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine’.
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