The Football Association have irritated clubs by failing to provide clear guidance on how to advise players over making public messages linked to the ongoing Middle East conflict.
English football’s governing body is dragging its heels over deciding whether to investigate a social media post from Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury that read ‘from river to sea’ - a saying with pro-Palestinian connotations.
The FA were expected to decide on Tuesday whether the former England Under 21 international has a case to answer - but a final decision is yet to be made.
The delay arrives amid concern from leading clubs over the lack of guidance from English football’s key stakeholders on how they should instruct their staff about the sort of messaging that is permitted from ‘participants’ in the public domain.
In contrast, anti-discriminatory organisation Kick It Out released a statement in relation to Choudhury’s situation on Tuesday urging players to show ‘caution’ on social media when commenting on events in the Middle East.
The FA is dragging its heels over whether to investigate a post online from Hamza Choudhury
Choudhury - who is of Bangladeshi-Grenadian descent - appeared to post a pro-Palestinian social media message on Monday
Due to the lack of official guidance, clubs have taken it upon themselves to hold internal presentations to players in an effort to ensure they don’t land themselves in hot water when commenting on the violent scenes between Israel and Palestine.
There is a sense at a number of clubs that stakeholders - including the FA and Premier League - are reluctant to send out any official communications out of fear of dictating to players and clubs about their personal messages.
However, the fact the FA are even considering Choudhury may have a case to answer for his controversial social media post - which he has since said was misinterpreted - highlights the dangers of political messaging for footballers.
Choudhury said after making the post: ‘I want to address my earlier post which has unfortunately been misinterpreted. It was not and is not my intention to cause offence to anyone but simply to show my compassion for innocent people that are suffering. I’m sorry for any offence this has caused.’
A spokesman for Leicester added: ‘We have discussed the matter with Hamza, and shared our concern that views expressed in this manner - without sufficient context on a deeply nuanced and sensitive topic - are open to misinterpretation which risks unintentional offence.’
Insiders at the FA believe the organisation’s delay in confirming whether they intend to take Choudhury’s instance further has been complicated by their failure to publicly address the emergence of a historic anti-Israeli tweet from the chair of their inclusion advisory board Deji Davies.
It isn't the first time Choudhury has voiced his support for Palestine.
Following Leicester's FA Cup triumph over Chelsea in 2021, Choudhury and former team-mate Wesley Fofana paraded a Palestine flag on the pitch during the celebrations before collecting his medal with the flag draped over his shoulders.
Following Leicester's 2021 FA Cup triumph, Choudhury and Wesley Fofana (right) held up the Palestinian flag during the on-pitch celebrations at Wembley
Choudhury then went to pick up his medal draped with the Palestine flag over him