Early Doors

Chilean club fined for wearing ‘anti-Israeli’ jerseys

A top flight club in Chile have been fined and ordered to change the numbers on their shirts after complaints from Jewish organisations.

Club Deportivo Palestino, who were founded by Palestinian immigrants in 1920, caused big controversy when they wore the distinctive shirts for three matches.

The problem came with the numbers on the back of the shirts, or more specifically how the number one was represented.

As you can see in the photograph above from AFP, the number one was replaced by a map of Palestine as it was before the UN voted to partition it in 1947.

The Jewish organisations who complained about the shirt said that the design implied the entire area was Palestinian and did not recognise the state of Israel.

The club continued to use the shirt, which is also in the green, white and red colours of the Palestine flag, while the Chilean FA investigated.

The federation finally ruled against Palestino and fined them $1,300 (£800) saying that they were against "any form of political, religious, sexual, ethnic, social or racial discrimination."

"We cannot accept the involvement of football with politics and religion," they added.

On the club's official Facebook page Palestino state: "For us, free Palestine will always be historical Palestine, nothing less."

The Santiago-based club have twice won the Chilean title - most recently in 1978.

The Palestinian community in Chile is believed to be the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world with estimates of the number of Palestinian descendants in Chile ranging from 450,000 to 500,000.