- The FA is also considering a period of silence for the victims on both sides
- Because it is an international friendly match, the match protocol is a matter of home association
- Listen to the latest episode of the Mail Sport podcast ‘It all begins!’
The FA is holding talks over whether the Wembley arch should be lit in the colors of the Israeli flag during England’s friendly against Australia on Friday, amid concerns over a possible backlash.
The Israeli flag was projected on 10 Downing Street and City Hall in London on Sunday evening, following government directives, in tribute to the hundreds of people killed in Hamas terror attacks this weekend.
The FA has set a precedent by lighting the national flags of countries that have suffered terrorist attacks in recent years, and has made a decision on whether it will follow suit in next week’s England matches against Australia and Italy.
The FA’s senior leadership is in Nyon on Tuesday for the UEFA Executive Committee meeting, after which the UK and Ireland will be officially confirmed as hosts of Euro 2028.
It is expected that the FA will discuss the situation in Israel with their counterparts at UEFA, but as hosts for Friday’s friendly with Australia and next Tuesday’s European Championship qualifier against Italy it will be up to them to decide on the nature of any tribute. With some senior figures at Wembley expressing concern over accusations of taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, other options include imposing a period of silence for the victims on both sides.
Downing Street was lit up with the Israeli flag on Sunday evening and FA chiefs will now decide whether Wembley will follow suit
The arch has previously been illuminated with the colors of countries affected by terror and conflict, including in the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022
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The FA has been quick to express its solidarity with victims of terrorism and conflict in recent years.
The Ukrainian flag was projected throughout Wembley and lit up the arch during last year’s Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool following the Russian invasion in February 2022, a tribute repeated when Ukraine visited London for a European Championship qualifier earlier this year against England.
In November 2015, the Wembley arch was illuminated by the red, white and blue of the tricolor following the Paris terror attacks when England played France in a warm-up friendly at Euro 2016, for which players from both sides sang La Marseillaise.
The FA must also decide how to respond if pro-Palestinian chants or flags sound at Wembley following reports of pro-Hamas protests in London this weekend.
In 2021, the governing body chose not to take action against Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana and Hamza Choudhury, who both held the Palestinian flag on the pitch after their side’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, although neither player has supported terrorism at some point.
UEFA has postponed all Israel matches scheduled for the next two weeks, as well as an under-17 tournament due to take place in the country.
IT’S ALL GOING OFF!