Footballers protest Israel hosting UEFA Euro U21
LONDON (AP) — Dozens of footballers have signed a statement protesting UEFA's decision to stage the European under-21 championship in Israel next year following the country's recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
A statement signed by 62 players, including Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Arsenal's Abou Diaby, claims that Israel hosting the tournament will be "seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values."
The statement was released by the Palestinian Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
Israel launched the offensive in Gaza earlier this month in response to months of intensifying Palestinian rocket fire.
The players say civilian deaths in the Gaza fighting "were yet another stain on the world's conscience." Four Israeli civilians were killed in rocket fire.
The statement wasn't signed by any players from the eight teams that qualified for the tournament.