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Protest delays Scotland’s Women’s Euro 2025 qualifier against Israel

A protester chained himself to the goalposts at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, causing a significant delay before the Women’s Euro 2025 qualifier between Scotland and Israel.

The match was delayed by approximately 45 minutes as the man, using a heavy-duty lock, secured himself to the posts to protest against Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

Incident Details

The teams had to return to the dressing rooms while officials and security dealt with the situation.

The match, already set to be played behind closed doors for security reasons, saw additional complications as the protester initially went unnoticed, reportedly because he was wearing a high-visibility vest and may have been mistaken for a steward.

Outside the Stadium

About 400 protesters had gathered outside the main stand of Hampden Park. Many were carrying small coffins and Palestinian flags, signalling their solidarity with Gaza.

As the match finally kicked off, demonstrators continued their protest by booing, blowing whistles, and setting off fireworks.

Security Measures and Responses

A small group of counter-protesters was also present, adding to the tense atmosphere. Players were seen discussing whether it was safe to return to the pitch, and eventually decided to resume the game after a second warm-up session.

Despite being inside a closed stadium, chants from protesters outside could still be heard.

In response to the protest and the heightened security concerns, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) had earlier announced that no supporters would be allowed to attend the match.

This decision was made following extensive security consultations with all key parties involved.

Public demonstrations against Israel’s military operations in Gaza have been occurring regularly across the UK.

The protest before the game was organized by the Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee, which has been vocal in calling for the cancellation of matches involving Israel.

Police and UEFA’s Stance

Police Scotland assured the public that appropriate policing plans were in place to ensure safety and minimize disruption.

In light of recent events, UEFA banned Israel from hosting football matches due to security concerns following the 7 October attack by Hamas and the subsequent Israeli military response.

Consequently, Israeli national and club teams have been playing their fixtures at neutral venues in Hungary.

The return game between Scotland and Israel, scheduled for Tuesday in Budapest, will also be played behind closed doors.

The events at Hampden Park highlight the intersection of sports and political activism, showcasing the heightened emotions and security challenges that can arise during such international fixtures.