The FA are set to write to clubs regarding the use of any Pro-Palestinian / Pro-Israel phrases following a recent post from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury which has now been deleted.
The specific phrase used by Choudhury, which the FA will be warning associates against using, was “from the river to the sea” – which Choudhury posted on his X account alongside an image of a Palestinian flag.
Critics claim that these words refer to the destruction of Israel, although this is disputed by Pro-Palestinian protesters.
“From the river to the sea” is thought to be in reference to the land which lies between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the the phrase is “a deeply offensive chant to many”, and UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier this month asked Police chiefs to consider it an “expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world”.
Despite these claims, Pro-Palestinian activists insist that those chanting the phrase, as was done in a Pro-Palestine march in London on Saturday, are calling for the end of Israel’s blockade of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank – not for the destruction of Israel itself.
Despite some claiming that the phrase implies the destruction of Israel, Choudhury insists that his post had “unfortunately been misinterpreted” and that his intention was to “show compassion for the innocent people that are suffering”.
In the same statement he added “I share the hope of people around the world that a peaceful resolution can bring an end to the ongoing suffering of innocent people in this conflict,”
The 26-year-old Leicester man has since deleted the post after the club spoke to him about his statement.
The club said that they shared “concerns that views expressed in this manner – without sufficient context on a deeply nuanced and sensitive topic – are open to misinterpretation, which risks unintentional offence among sections of our communities”.
On Wednesday, the FA released a statement which read:
“After careful consideration, we will be writing to all clubs to make it clear that this phrase is considered offensive to many, and should not be used by players in social media posts.
“The player has apologised and deleted the tweet. We are strongly encouraging clubs to ensure that players do not post content which may be offensive or inflammatory to any community.
“If this phrase is used again by a football participant, we will seek police guidance on how we should treat it and respond.”
This is not the first time that the conflict between Israel and Palestine has stirred up hot waters in the world of football – just last month, Faith in Football Chairman Rabbi Goldberg resigned in protest after 16 years when the decision was made to not light up the Wembley Arch in Israel’s colours for England’s match against Australia.
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