Briefs: Irish sports fans back Palestine; youth teams oppose racism

July 27, 2014

Ireland: Sports fans fly flags for Gaza

Dublin Gaelic Athletics Association fans unfurled a huge banner reading “Free Gaza” during the Leinster Senior Football Final on July 20, while Palestinian flags were flown by crowds at other sporting events across the country.

An Phoblacht reported on July 21: “Viewers tuning in to watch the Leinster and Ulster finals could not help but notice the numerous Palestinian flags being waved throughout the crowd. Palestinian flags also made appearances at the SSE Airtricity Premier League clash between Cork City and UCD as well as at the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) sell-out night at the O2 arena in Dublin.

“The display of so many Palestinian flags at sporting events across Ireland is a clear reflection of the public mood that saw thousands take to the streets in cities, towns and villages throughout the country over the weekend to show their opposition to the horrific onslaught against the besieged Gaza Strip by the Israeli war machine.”

Ireland: School sports team fined for anti-racist stance

“A Cork schoolboys soccer club has been fined €200 for refusing to continue playing a crucial league game after one of their players was racially abused,” Irish Examiner said on July 1.

“Two coaches from Carrigaline United spoke out last night against the sanction imposed by the Cork Schoolboys League and said they felt the club was being punished for taking a stand against racism on the pitch.

“'I know things are said on the field of play, but you have to take a stand,” said Mark McCarthy, the coach who made the decision to protect his player.

“Fellow club coach Ted O’Callaghan believes the fine is sending out the wrong message. 'We are a multicultural society and our sports clubs and teams reflect that. We feel we are being punished for taking a stand. These are only kids who want to play a game and we think the league is hiding behind the rule book here.'”

Man City U-21s walk off against racism

“Manchester City youth team coach Patrick Vieira has been praised for taking his players off the pitch after an alleged racist incident in a pre-season friendly,” the Morning Star Online said on July 24.

“The club’s head of the elite development squad made the decision after 19-year-old French midfielder Seko Fofana was allegedly racially abused by an opponent a minute before half-time during the match against HNK Rijeka in Novigrad, west Croatia.

“Vieira, a Senegalese-born former France international, has received the full backing of Piara Powar, executive director at anti-discrimination network Football Against Racism in Europe.

“'We are not, in the short term, able to stop this sort of incident happening but to have someone like Patrick Vieira, with his status, do this makes the message very clear,' Powar said.

“'The message it sends out is categorical. It is just the sort of thing which will create change. We have got to challenge any situation in that regard.”

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