By Romana Rubeo
A historic fan club of the Italian football team AS Roma, known as Fedayn, asked their team not to play a football match against the English team Tottenham, scheduled on July 30 in Haifa, Israel.
On Saturday, a large banner appeared outside the Trigoria Sports Complex, used by the Roma football club as a training ground, which reads: “In an occupying state, there can be no ‘friendly’ matches”.
Fedayn is named after Palestinian freedom fighters who fought against Israeli Zionist colonialism.
It is not the first time that Fedayn openly express their solidarity with the Palestinian people. On several occasions, they waved the Palestinian flag during AS Roma matches. In 2018, for example, they waved Palestinian flags during the Great March of Return, which saw Israeli snipers deliberately targeting Palestinian protesters at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel.
The official stance taken by Fedayn is part of a greater campaign, where two Palestinian football clubs have also officially asked AS Roma not to play in Israel.
In an open letter published on July 5, the Balata Youth Center and the Palestine Amputee Football Association urged AS Roma and other international teams not to play in Israel.
— Barry Mulligan 🏴🇮🇪🇵🇸🍀🎗 (@bmulligan82) October 9, 2021
“We write to you as Palestinian football clubs from the occupied Palestinian West Bank and besieged Gaza,” they wrote, adding: “We urge you, in the spirit of the values that underlie the beautiful game, not to play or train in apartheid Israel.”
The note also listed the players shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, including “16-year-old Saeed Odeh, 19-year-old Mohammad Ghneim, 18-year-old Thaer Yazouri, and 14-year-old Zaid Ghneim, in the past year alone.”
The Italian branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement also called on AS Roma and another Italian team, Juventus, to boycott so-called ‘friendly’ matches in Israel, highlighting Tel Aviv’s constant attempts at “sportwashing” its heinous crimes.