Arab soccer players erase Israeli flags from uniforms

A number of Arab soccer players erased the Israeli flag from their uniforms during a showcase match at the FIFA Arab Cup.

 FIFA Arab Cup - Qatar 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM AL OMARI)
FIFA Arab Cup - Qatar 2021

The three Algerian soccer players who were supposed to take part in a showcase match between former stars of Arab countries and past legends from around the world and left after discovering that Avram Grant would coach world legends are not alone.

Apart from the three who decided to leave the stadium as a sign of protest that an Israeli coach was standing on the lines, a number of players in the Arab national team who decided to stay for the match removed the Israeli flag from their shirt as a sign of protest.

Players from both teams wore shirts with all the FIFA countries listed on them, including Israel. However, some of those players chose to manually erase the Israeli flag from their shirts even before the opening whistle. The players included the Saudi Nawaf Al-Temyat, the Syrian Firas al-Khatib, Iraqi Younis Mahmoud and Qatari journalist Mohammed Saadoun who also took part in the game.

The act of protest of the athletes received many reactions on Twitter, with many Arab football fans praising the soccer players for the act.

Former international stars include names such as Javier Mascherano, Luther Mathews, Yaya Touré, Yuri Djorkaeff, Marcel Desailly, Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, Nuno Gomes and, among others, Grant - who is registered as a coach and as a player.

In the national team of Arab countries, FIFA head Gianni Infantino is registered as one of the players in the team, as is none other than Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani - emir of Qatar. Legendary former referee Pierluigi Collina was among the referees of the match along with Massimo Busacca.