Three Algerian football players have announced their withdrawal from a “legends” football match in Qatar to protest against the participation of an Israeli coach, Avram Grant.
Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saifi and Rafik Hallich withdrew from the match, which was held at the Al Thumama Stadium on Friday. The game was played between FIFA Arab Legends and FIFA World Legends before the FIFA Arab Cup final which was later won by Algeria.
But according to the official press release of FIFA, there was no mention of a boycott from anyone.
Grant was a former manager of English football heavyweight Chelsea. He also served as a coach of the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.
In the same match, former Saudi football player Nawaf Al-Temyat defaced the Israeli flag on his jersey ahead of the game. Al-Temyat, who was playing with the FIFA Arab Legends, scribbled out the Israeli flag from his T-shirt which had 211 FIFA country flags on it.
The photos of the jersey were widely circulated on social media.
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Before the match, FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced to the crowd: “Tonight we unite the Arab world with the entire world. We are all one team.”
Currently neither Algeria nor Saudi Arabia have diplomatic relations with Israel nor do they recognise Israel as a legitimate country. However, it is widely believed that Saudi Arabia have covert relations with the Zionist entity.
In 2016, the Algeria football team dropped out from a friendly match with Ghana as the head coach of Ghana was Grant.
Similarly, in September this year, the International Judo Federation banned Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine from participating in any international game for 10 years after he refused to fight against an Israeli opponent in the Tokyo Olympics.