South Africans appeal to their Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, to intervene at UEFA
- 18 June 2012
It was first announced in 2011 that Israel would be hosting the 2013 UEFA U21 Championships. Since then there has been widespread condemnation and calls for UEFA to reverse its decision. Now, South Africans are calling on their Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, to throw his weight behind the campaign.
Last year, in June 2011, UEFA received its first letter of protest from the Palestinian sporting community calling on the soccer body to respect the international boycott of Israel and cancel their upcoming tournament. Most recently, on the 14th of June 2012, a senior Fatah Central Committee member and chairman of the Palestinian Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub, publicly appealed to the UEFA President, Michel Platini, to "not give Israel the honour of hosting the UEFA U21 Championship in 2013."
A petition has been launched by the 'South African Palestine Solidarity Alliance' and 'BDS South Africa' together with local football clubs appealing to the South African Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, to join the call to have UEFA reverse its decision to host the 2013 U21 Championships in Israel. Even though South Africa is not officially part of UEFA, the campaign carries great weight and significance coming out of South Africa - a country that called for and experienced similar boycotts during the 80s.
The petition has thus far been signed by the former South African Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad; HIV/AIDS activist, Zackie Achmat and over 500 others. It reads:
"We are respectfully appealing to the South African Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, to join us in calling on UEFA to reverse its decision to host the 2013 U21 Championships in Israel.
The Honourable Minister [Fikile Mbalula] was himself part of the United Democratic Front and other structures of the South African liberation movement that championed the slogan "no normal sport in an abnormal society". In 2009, the South African Human Sciences Research Council found that Israel practices "colonialism" and "Apartheid". To play sport in Israel, is indeed, playing in an abnormal society."
Find the full petition with all signatories here: www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/uefa
Minister Mbalula has been to Palestine on several occasions an even partook, in 2006, in a protest rally outside the Israeli embassy where numerous Israeli flags were burnt and trampled on. At that protest he addressed the crowd saying: "International laws must be respected. We are witnessing severe violations of human rights in Palestine…an injury to one is an injury to all."
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, one of the organizers of the campaign and petition said: "We are hopeful and look forward to receiving the Minister's support."
ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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