Will FIFA Punish Moroccan Team Over Palestinian Flag?

Morocco’s national team celebrated its historic World Cup victory over Spain with a group photo featuring a Palestinian flag.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: World Cup
The Morocco team celebrated by promoting the Palestinian cause. Will they be punished?
The Morocco team celebrated by promoting the Palestinian cause. Will they be punished? Photo: Twitter screenshot

FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, prohibits the promotion of religious or political causes by players or coaches during the world’s biggest sporting event. So will it punish the Moroccan national team for celebrating its historic victory on Tuesday by pulling out a Palestinian flag?

Morocco became the first team from the Arab world to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup when it beat perennial powerhouse Spain.

A lot of fans in Israel were rooting for Morocco, which in December 2020 joined the Abraham Accords and formally recognized the Jewish state.

But joy turned to irritation for many local fans when the Moroccan team celebrated by taking a group photo holding a large Palestinian flag.

The Palestinian flag and signs bearing slogans supporting the Palestinian cause have been a prominent feature of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, one of the few countries to openly support the anti-Israel Hamas terrorist organization. That was to be expected from the large Arab fan base. But, as noted, its prohibited for players to promote such causes during an international sporting event.

FIFA earned the ire of Western European nations when it barred their players from wearing armbands supporting the LGBT community. Homosexuality is outlawed in Qatar, and the European players meant their “One Love” armbands to be an act of protest.

It remains to be seen if FIFA will risk similarly upsetting the Arab world by taking Morocco to task.

It’s been a frustrating World Cup for Israel in many respects. There was hope that the Abraham Accords had created an atmosphere in which average Israelis and average Arabs from across the region could finally engage in personal dialogue and get to know one another.

But repeated examples of Arab fans suddenly becoming hostile after learning they were speaking to an Israeli all but dashed that hope.

One senior Israeli journalist went so far as to comment that in Qatar he finally woke up to the true depth of Arab hatred for Israel.

A popular Israel comedian who had filmed himself engaging humorously with fans from across the Middle East was compelled to return early to Israel amid threats of violence.

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