FA ‘tried to make best decision’ on Israel-Gaza tribute, says Gareth Southgate12 October 2023
The Football Association has "tried to make the best decision with good intentions" over tributes to those who have died in Israel and Gaza, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.
The FA has chosen not to light up the Wembley arch with the colours of the Israeli flag.
Secretary of state for culture, media and sport Lucy Frazer has called that decision "disappointing".
More than 1,200 people have been killed in Israel in a series of attacks launched by Palestinian militant group Hamas last week.
Israel then launched air strikes on Gaza and has restricted access to food, water, fuel and medicine in the territory.
More than 1,300 people have been killed in Gaza in those strikes, with 338,000 people displaced.
The FA said in a statement before Southgate's comments earlier on Thursday: "We stand for humanity and an end to the death, violence, fear and suffering."
It added that only "flags, replica kits and other representations of nationality for competing nations" would be allowed inside Wembley for the match against Australia and Tuesday's Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.
The statement did not mention the Wembley arch.
BBC Sport reported on Wednesday that the governing body was unlikely to illuminate the arch in the colours of the Israel flag because of fears of a backlash.
Senior officials at the FA were understood to be wary of a perception they might be taking sides in the Middle East conflict.
Government minister Frazer criticised the FA's decision not light up the arch on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: "It is especially disappointing in light of the FA's bold stance on other terrorist attacks in the recent past. Words and actions matter. The Government is clear: we stand with Israel."
Last year the FA lit Wembley's arch in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukraine flag in solidarity with the country after it was invaded by Russia.
The arch was also illuminated in the colours of the French tricolour in 2015 in tribute to the people killed in terrorist attacks in Paris, and the colours of the Belgium flag adorned the arch in 2016 in respect of the victims of the Brussels bombings.England's Under 21s wore black armbands during Thursday's win over Serbia U21
Black armbands will be worn by players, managers and match officials in the English Football League this weekend, as well as during the next round of Premier League fixtures taking place from 21 to 23 October, when a period of silence will also be held.
Both the EFL and Premier League are making a donation to the British Red Cross to help those in urgent need.
The Women's Super League said it will "remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine" and requested clubs wear black armbands and observe a period of silence at matches this weekend.
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