This year, once again, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP, Professional french Football League) has decided to hold the next edition of the Champions Trophy (French Super cup) in Israel. This official match between Paris Saint-Germain, the 2022 champion of France, and FC Nantes, winner of the 2022 French Cup, is to be held on Sunday 31 July at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. 1
Like the previous edition, the LFP is organising this event together with the Israeli-Canadian businessman Sylvan Adams, “self-proclaimed ambassador of the State of Israel” 2 and Comtec Group, the Israeli firm specialising in events organisation, which has among its clients the Israeli government and companies based in illegal colonies in the occupied West Bank.3 For several years, Sylvan Adams has become involved in high-level sports in order to change and improve Israel’s image.4
We are strongly opposed to the holding of this match in Israel. This is a sportwashing event, aiming to whitewash the military occupation, the colonisation, the apartheid system of the Israeli State and its crimes.
Since the start of 2022, the Israeli occupation forces have killed almost 60 Palestinians.5 Among those victims were two journalists — Shireen Abu Akleh, the star reporter of Aljazeera, and Ghufran Warasneh – as well as 16 teenagers, including two young footballers: Mohammad Ghneim and Thaer Yazouri.
At the same time, the Israeli colonisation goes on apace. The imprisonments, the threats of imminent expulsion, and the attacks carried out by the settlers, have all intensified.
The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that almost 1,000 Palestinians can be forced out of their villages in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, so that their lands be transformed into a new military training zone, whereas the government approves a plan to build 4,500 homes in the illegal colonies.6
Israel continues to detain 4,450 Palestinian prisoners, including 160 children. 600 are in ‘administrative detention’, with neither charges nor judgement, like the Franco-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, held arbitrarily since March 2022. Since the start of this year, the occupation forces have arrested over 2,140 Palestinians, mainly in occupied Jerusalem and in Jenin.7
Israeli settlers, protected by the soldiers, have carried out 133 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank.5
One year after the last murderous attack by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip, nothing has actually changed. The territory is still under an illegal blockade. Few buildings have been reconstructed. Gaza remains an open-air prison, and still comes under regular Israeli bombardment. Thousands of children in Gaza suffer from mental trauma.8
The right of return of millions of refugees, adopted by the UN, is still not respected by the State of Israel, which keeps in conditions of misery the inhabitants of the refugee camps, be they in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan, etc., and which represses their resistance in the occupied territories, as seen recently in Jenin and in Hebron.
These dramas take place in line with several decades of colonial and apartheid policies against the Palestinian people.9 To play this match in Tel Aviv would help to mask these realities.
We refuse to see French football and these two teams become complicit in the Israeli violations of international law and of Palestinians’ human rights.
The LFP recently took a strong position by withdrawing from Russia the rights to broadcast the Ligue 1, in order to punish its invasion and war of aggression in Ukraine. 10
We urge Mr Vincent Labrune, LFP President, Mr Waldemar Kita, owner and President of Nantes FC and Mr Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, President-Director General of Paris Saint-Germain, to relocate this event to France or to move it to another country.
We call upon the players and staff members to join us by supporting our request.
Football clubs and sports associations
Football du Peuple. Montpellier
Ménilmontant Football Club 1871
Football Populaire de Caen
Paris Saint-Germain Fan Club – Malaysia
Associations and organisations
Football 4 Palestine
Collectif Boycott Apartheid Israël – Paris Banlieue
Jeunes pour la Palestine – Nantes
Collectif Boycott Désinvestissement Sanctions 45
Collectif Boycott Désinvestissement Sanctions 57
Orléans Loiret Palestine
Association France Palestine Solidarité
Association France Palestine Solidarité – Albertville
Association France Palestine Solidarité – Paris Sud
Association France Palestine Solidarité – Nîmes
Association France Palestine Solidarité 63
Association France Palestine Solidarité – Gentilly
Association France Palestine Solidarité 44
Association France Palestine Solidarité – Chambéry
Association France Palestine Solidarité – Paris 14-6
Association France Palestine Solidarité 59/62
Comité France Palestine de Rueil et Suresnes
Collectif Ivryens Pour la Palestine
Association des Palestiniens en France-Aljaliya – Union des associations palestiniennes en France
Forum Palestine Citoyenneté
Collectif Palestine Vaincra
Samidoun Région Parisienne
Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente
Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente Orléans
Parti communiste des ouvriers de France
Campagne Unitaire pour la Libération de Georges Abdallah
Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Organisation de Femmes Egalité
Collectif Marseille Gaza Palestine
Collectif Solidarité Palestine Ouest Étang de Berre
Islam & Info
Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine
Les Amis du Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine
Association Médicale Franco-Palestinienne d’Aubagne
Union syndicale Solidaires
Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste
Rete dei Comunisti
Front Uni des Immigrations et des Quartiers Populaires – Paris Banlieue
Action Antifasciste Paris-Banlieue
Section du Parti Communiste Français de Rueil-Malmaison et de Garches
Union Nationale des Étudiants de France – Auvergne
Football clubs, sports associations, supporters groups, human rights organizations etc can sign this text by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
1 LFP – 17 Mars 2022
4 Sylvan Adams is one of the owners and financial backer of the Israel Cycling Academy cycling team, which became Israel Start-Up Nation and then Israel-Premier Tech. This is the first professional Israeli cycling team to get a UCI World Tour license, allowing it to participate in major competitions including the Tour de France.
7 https://addameer.org/ https://www.addameer.org/media/4759
Israeli authorities have renewed Salah Hamouri’s administrative detention for three months, until September 5th.
9 see reports from NGOs Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch et Betselem