FA asks under-eights football team to remove Palestinian corner flags from pitch

Parents ‘heartbroken’ as children’s football is politicised in Bedfordshire


One of the Palestinian flags flown by Queens Park Crescents U8 Football Club (Photo: Facebook/X/Twitter)

A parent has spoken about the “politicisation of under-eights football” after his son’s team walked away from a match with Queens Park Crescents (QPCFC), who refused to remove Palestinian flags from a pitch.

The Football Association is said to have spoken to QPCFC about the incident against Wixams Wanderers (WWFC), which occurred on Sunday, and has asked the team to remove the flags at future games.

WWFC forfeited the match after their request for the Palestinian flags to be removed before kick-off was refused by the hosts.

An Israeli father, whose eight-year-old son plays for WWFC, told the JC that several parents had asked QPCFC to remove the Palestinian corner flags before the match started.

“Me and another dad went to the coaches and asked them: ‘Can you please take the flags down? They are political’”, said the father, who did not wish to be named.

After a short discussion, the coaches agreed, only for another individual associated with QPCFC to put them back up.

“He insisted; he said it was the club’s stance,” the father recalled.

QPCFC claimed they had received an email from the FA which permitted them to fly Palestinian flags at their games. Bedfordshire FA refuted this claim and said no such approval had been made since October 7.

After WWFC abandoned the match, QPCFC parents allegedly picked up the flags and placed them on a larger pitch where children were playing later that morning.

“I’m the only Jew or Israeli on the team,” said the father, “The rest of the team were 100 per cent supportive as soon as they realised it had become political. All of the families backed me, and we walked away.

“If one person doesn’t feel comfortable, we don’t play. There is no way there is any room for this in an under-eights game.

“Kids should not be used as a political tool”, the father went on.

“They’ve used this as a means for propaganda. 19 kids came here for an under-eights game, and they went home without playing because the other side insisted on using Palestinian flags. It’s terrible,” the father said.

Although the Israeli has tried to shield his son from the news, “he understands there is a war in Israel and why we had to leave the game [...] he’s only eight and he can see this is not okay.”

Another parent took to Facebook, where she wrote: “My heart is bleeding.”

“Why are we allowing a U8 grassroots football game to become a political campaign, a protest and a dangerous forum of opinions that create danger to the safety of Jewish and Muslim children alike,” the mother said.

In October, QPCFC added the Palestinian flag to their logo “in solidarity”.

The club have doubled down on their stance and posted to social media: “Today, our U8s coach told us the opposing team forfeited the game over our Palestine corner flags. No issue with displaying them; confirmed with the FA.

“It is important to emphasise that expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people is not just a political stance but rather a humanitarian one, akin to supporting Ukraine. Our expressions of support align with United Nations resolutions and are in accordance with the standards set by international human rights groups. [sic]”

QPCFC went on to share videos from Al-Jazeera and the UN to “enlighten our followers about the gravity of the situation”.

Controversial editor of 5Pillars blog, Dilly Hussain, tweeted in support of QPCFC. “Proud of my local junior football team @QPCrescents for not taking down their Palestine corner flags because a parent from the opposing team was offended.”

Bedfordshire is also home to annother amateur football club, which goes by the name FC Palestine Bedford and frequently flies the Palestinian flag at their matches.

A spokesperson for the FA said: "We want children to be able to play football in a safe and welcoming environment. We have been made aware of the incident at the weekend, and we will be contacting the club to ask them to remove these corner flags for future matches."

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