Moroccan Paris Saint-Germain footballer Achraf Hakimi booed for Palestine support during Israel football match
The 23-year-old Morocco international, who was recently shortlisted for African Player of the Year, was playing for the French side against Nantes in the Trophee des Champions competition, which was won by 4 goals to nil and played at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium.
Videos shared online show that a large number of football fans seated in the stands booing and whistling at the full-back whenever he was in the possession of the ball.
Trophée des Champions PSG-Nantes au Bloomfield de Tel-Áviv (Israël)— Franceat (@Franceatpresso2) July 31, 2022
▫Le joueur marocain du PSG Achraf Hakimi sifflé par le public israélien, pour son soutien à la Palestine.⤵#PSGFCN pic.twitter.com/SgdTWy8YS2
Fans and activists online suggested that the fans’ abuse of Hakimi was owed to the player’s showing of support with the Palestinian cause.
Amid Israel’s heavy bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip and the forced expulsions of residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied east Jerusalem in May last year, Hakimi tweeted his support for Palestine using the #FreePalestine hashtag.
Comme l'an passé, les sifflets sur Achraf Hakimi… Scandaleux. #PSGFCN— Said El Abadi (@SaidElabadi) July 31, 2022
Hakimi was subjected to the same abuse when he played with the Parisian team in August last year in Tel Aviv, during the same competition.
However, Hakimi received the support from fans and activists alike. Franco-Moroccan sports journalist Said El Abadi called the fans’ aggressive whistling 'scandalous', while others applauded him for withstanding the abuse and continuous his support for the Palestinian cause.
Sports news outlets also suggested that Hakimi was accompanied by a bodyguard during his time in Tel Aviv, for his personal safety.
Hakimi has played for the French side since 2021, and he is hailed as one of the Moroccan national team’s star players, as well as being Africa’s most expensive player.