Republic of Ireland’s U21 side should not play against Israel, say Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein has said it will be calling on the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) not to play an Under-21 match against Israel next month.

The party was unsuccessful in its recent bid to get the IFA to cancel Northern Ireland’s international friendly against the same opposition.

That match is due to take place at Windsor Park this evening, with an anti-Israel protest being organised by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement expected to take place a short distance from the ground before kick-off.

Despite being criticised for its efforts to get the IFA to cancel tonight’s game, Sinn Fein has said it will take the same stance regarding the Republic of Ireland’s UEFA Under-21 Championship game in Israel on October 11.

“Sinn Féin support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign which involves the economic, cultural and sporting boycott of the Israeli state,” a party spokesperson said.

“There is also a responsibility for UEFA not to put countries in the position of facing Israel in competitive fixtures by expelling them from their competitions while Israel continues its onslaught against the Palestinian people including the deliberate targeting of Palestinian footballers and facilities,” the spokesperson added.

Responding to the party’s calls for the IFA to cancel tonight’s international friendly, North Antrim MLA and Northern Ireland season ticket holder Paul Frew said: “I love the Northern Ireland games, and for anyone to politicise it in this way is really bad form, horrendous actually.

“Football breaks down barriers, it brings people together. There is no reason why we shouldn’t play this game.”

• Read related story - IFA: We’ve no intention of cancelling Israel friendly

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