Outrage online as Tottenham Hotspur to play pre-season friendly in Israel

Outrage online as Tottenham Hotspur to play pre-season friendly in Israel
2 min read
28 May, 2022
The North London team said it was 'delighted' to announce they would be playing AS Roma in Israel this summer.
Tottenham announced Friday that they would play AS Roma in Haifa this summer [Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty]

Pro-Palestine football fans have called on Tottenham Hotspur to reconsider a match it is set to play in Israel this summer.

Tottenham announced Friday that they would play Italian side AS Roma in a pre-season friendly at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa on 30 July.

The North London team said it was "delighted" to announce the fixture, which is part of the I-Tech Cup.

The cup was created by sports event organisers MTR7 "to showcase local technologies in a country that is renowned as a hub for high-tech companies", according to the Tottenham statement.

Some Twitter users slammed the fixture, saying Israel uses a system of apartheid on Palestinians and citing recent high-profile human rights violations including the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh.

Hundreds have signed an online petition calling on the club to reconsider playing in Israel.

"Israel murdered a journalist a week ago," read a comment under the petition referencing Abu Akleh's killing. "What on earth is Tottenham doing?"

Tottenham said the July match would form part of its seventh visit to Israel, the last being 15 years ago for the UEFA Cup.

"As is tradition for international visits, our players and Ambassadors will be out and about, meeting fans, supporting good causes and immersing themselves in local culture," the club said.

It added that some of its coaches "plan to support existing projects which bring Palestinian and Israeli children together, using the power of football to unite those from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds".

The New Arab contacted the club for more information on the trip and for comment on the backlash over the fixture but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho has recently drawn comparisons between suffering in Ukraine and Palestine.

"The war in Ukraine, the wars in Syria, the wars in Africa, the war in Palestine, in the Gaza Strip... it's just a deep feeling of why, and how can we stop it," he said in a recent interview.