January 15 – An open letter has been sent by a Swedish sixth tier football club Proletären FF to Fredrik Reinfeldt, chairman of the Swedish Football Association, calling for the suspension of Israel from international football.
The letter argues that Israel’s war on Hamas is similar in scale to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that led to the immediate banning of Russian teams from international competition (they can still play ‘friendlies’).
In particular the letter asks the Swedish FA whether they believe Palestinian children to be less worthy than Ukrainian children?
“Does Swedish sport wish to be remembered as silent and therefore complicit to the acts from Israel?,” says the letter.
The club, closely associated with members of the Swedish communist party, invites Reinfeldt to have an open forum discussion about the issues.
“ In order to form a part of ’breaking the silence’ about the role of sports we invite you to an open discussion in Gothenburg. You can choose the date on the theme,” say the letter.
The Swedish FA has responded saying they are considering their response.
In making their arguments, the letter highlights the indiscriminate nature of the Israeli attacks on Gaza’s civilian infrastructure that has killed more than 21,000 Palestinians and injured 55,000 more, 70% of them women and children.
“Israel has shut off water and electricity and made it close to impossible to deliver aid in form of medicine, food, water, and fuel which very soon will lead to a famine. Simultaneously Israel has forced the Palestinian population to flee to southern Gaza but also this area is heavily inflicted bombardment,” says the letter.
The video showing Israeli forces detaining hundreds of Palestinians inside al Yarmouk football stadium in Gaza city is also referenced.
“The video shows the detainees, including children, older people, and persons with disabilities, being forced to strip to their underwear in degrading conditions. Football stadiums used as prisons reminds us of the military coup d´état in Chile in 1973,” said the letter.
“Though we witness an ongoing genocide we haven’t registered any reaction to this, neither from FIFA, nor from SvFF,” conclude the letter.
“This is in contrast to the Russian attack on Ukraine. After only two days Swedish sport together with the Nordic leagues decided on sports boycott of Russia. We are convinced that many people are asking themselves why sports youth are treated so differently.”
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