12 Oct England to honor Israel-Hamas war victims – FA
The English Football Association (FA) has said it is planning a series of measures to mark the victims of the Israel-Hamas war at Friday’s friendly between England and Australia but have resisted calls to light up the Wembley arch in the colours of Israel’s flag.
Black armbands will be worn by both sets of players and there will be a period of silence before kick-off while there will be support for the Red Cross appeal aiming to help people affected in the region.
But the arch will not be illuminated as has been the case on several occasions, including last year with Ukraine’s colours a day after the country was invaded by Russia.
On Saturday, Hamas, an Islamist militant group that governs Gaza, launched a deadly attack on Israel, who formally declared war on Hamas a day later. The conflict has claimed more than 2,500 lives on both sides and injured thousands.
Sources have told ESPN that one factor in opting not to light the arch was the fact Friday’s opponents Australia have a World Cup qualifier against Palestine next month.
The FA said in a statement on Thursday: “On Friday evening, we will remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine.
“Our thoughts are with them, and their families and friends in England and Australia and with all the communities who are affected by this ongoing conflict. We stand for humanity and an end to the death, violence, fear and suffering.
“England and Australia players will wear black armbands during their match at Wembley Stadium and there will also be a period of silence held before kick-off. Following discussions with partners and external stakeholders, we will only permit flags, replica kits and other representations of nationality for the competing nations inside Wembley Stadium for the upcoming matches against Australia [Oct. 13] and Italy [Oct. 17].
“The British Red Cross have also launched an emergency appeal to support the people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the region, and we will promote this appeal within the stadium on Friday.”
The British government had advised the FA earlier this week to “mark the events appropriately in line with previous events where sport has come together”, according to a letter sent to UK governing bodies by culture secretary Lucy Frazer.