Arab football players remove Israeli flag from their shirts at Arab Cup

Arab football players remove Israeli flag from their shirts at Arab Cup
2 min read
19 December, 2021
Arab players competing in an exhibition match at the Arab Cup in Qatar have removed the Israeli flag from their shirts in protest, while others have withdrew from the match due to the presence of Israeli coach Avram Grant.
The Arab Cup is being viewed as a test event for the World Cup [Getty]

A number of Arab football players who were taking part in an exhibition match have removed the Israeli flag from their shirts, which had the flags of all qualifying countries.

The decision by the players follows a separate protest by three former Algerian players, who chose not to take part in the match after they discovered that an Israeli coach would be present.

The showcase event was taking place in Qatar as part of the Arab Cup, which Algeria won on Saturday night. 

The event has been viewed as a warmup for the 2022 World Cup. 

Players for the showcase event wore shirts with all the participating FIFA countries, including Israel, prompting a number of players to take it upon themselves to remove the Israeli flag from their shirts prior to the start of the game.

Saudi player Nawaf Al-Temyat, the Syrian Firas Al-Khatib, Iraqi Younis Mahmoud and Qatari journalist Mohammed Saadoun were among those who took the protesting action.

Prior to the match, Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saïfi and Rafik Halliche all announced that they would not take part in the match due to the involvement of Israeli coach Avram Grant.

The attendance of Grant at the event did raise some questions, since Qatar has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

Grant previously served as manger of English team Chelsea and also managed the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006. 

His presence at a football match involving Arab teams has caused problems before, notably in 2016, when Algeria pulled out of a friendly match against Ghana, who Grant was coaching at the time. 

The Arab Cup concluded on Saturday night, after a thrilling showdown between Tunisia and Algeria, with the latter finishing up on top, winning 2-0.