Don’t play politics with football

Don’t play politics with football

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Great timing! When the Olympics are promoting the beauty of international sport, anti-Israel extremists are seeking to turn a football match into a hate-fuelled protest against Israel.

Glasgow Celtic and Hapoel Be’er Sheva have drawn each other in the knock-out round before the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Saying they have nothing against anyone because of their nationality or race, the anti-Israel brigade want to protest because Hapoel Be’er Sheva are “representatives of the Israeli state”.

No they’re not. They’re a football team!

The threats of a political protest at the ground and Arabic banners of “resistance” being brandished in the face of the Israelis provoked one true Celtic fan to declare:

“What absolute stupidity. This is nothing to do with football and I, for one, think it’s an embarrassment to decent intelligent Celtic supporters.

The Israeli team by the way is mixed.

Keep politics out of football”.

Hapoel Be’er Sheva does indeed boast a team consisting of Israeli Jews, Arabs, African and European footballers. And they were good enough to beat the Greek champions Olympiacos in the last round, so they must be quite good too.

But despite the presence of players like Mohammad Ghadir, Maharan Radi and Loai Taha, Hapoel are condemned as “racist”, “apartheid” and “religious colonisers” purely because the club is Israeli.

The vast majority of Celtic fans want nothing more than a great football game and to progress to the Champions’ League group stage. We say: may the best team win, quit the hating and keep the action to the pitch!

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