Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - FA chief sorry for ‘offensive’ Star of David comment




FA chief sorry for ‘offensive’ Star of David comment

FA chief sorry for ‘offensive’ Star of David comment

English Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn apologised today for “offensive” comments he made comparing the Jewish Star of David with symbols such as the Nazi swastika.

Glenn’s remarks, criticised by a leading member of Britain’s Jewish community, came as he tried to justify the FA’s decision to charge Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for wearing a yellow ribbon in support of jailed Catalan independence leaders.

Guardiola has until 1800 GMT on Monday to respond to the charge that he has breached FA regulations that ban the wearing of political symbols.

The FA has faced accusations of hypocrisy, given their prolonged campaign to persuade world football chiefs to allow players to display a poppy on their shirt to mark Armistice Day.

But Glenn, speaking following a meeting of the IFAB (International Football Association Board), football’s global law-making body, in Zurich, rejected the comparison.

“We have rewritten Law 4 of the game so that things like a poppy are OK but things that are going to be highly divisive are not,” Glenn was quoted as saying in British newspapers.

“That could be strong religious symbols, it could be the Star of David, it could the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like [former Zimbabwe President] Robert Mugabe on your shirt – these are the things we don’t want.

“To be honest, and to be very clear, Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon is a political symbol. It’s a symbol of Catalan independence and I can tell you there are many more Spaniards, non-Catalans, who are p— off by it.

“All we are doing is even-handedly applying the laws of the game.”

Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council and himself a former director of corporate affairs at the FA, strongly criticised Glenn’s comment, saying the examples given were ill-judged and in poor taste.

“The Star of David [which features on Israel’s flag] is a Jewish religious symbol of immense importance to Jews worldwide. To put it in the same bracket as the swastika and Robert Mugabe is offensive and inappropriate,” he added.

Glenn issued an apology today.

“I would like to apologise for any offence caused by the examples I gave when referring to political and religious symbols in football, specifically in reference to the Star of David, which is a hugely important symbol to Jewish people all over the world,” he said.

“I will be speaking with the Jewish Leadership Council and to [anti-discrimination group] Kick It Out to personally apologise.”

Glenn’s comments came just days after it was announced that Prince William, the president of the FA, would be the first senior British royal to make an official visit to Israel, later this year.

They are also bound to raise fresh questions about English football’s senior leadership after both Glenn and FA chairman Greg Clarke were widely criticised last year for their handling of bullying and racism allegations.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • PM dispels lockdown rumours, gifts masks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 12 denied rumours that he will lock down the country in response to increased Covid-19 fears, referring to them as propaganda aimed at destabilising the country. In a Facebook post, he said some people had spread rumours that the government

  • SilkAir adds flight to Phnom Penh schedule

    Silkair (Singapore) Pte Ltd is increasing its flight frequency between Phnom Penh and Singapore with a third weekly flight on Saturdays, according to Cambodia Airports’ Facebook page. The other flights offered are on Tuesdays and Sundays, with an estimated Phnom Penh arrival time at 5:35pm