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SBD Global/December 3, 2012/International Football

Leading Footballers Sign Statement Protesting UEFA's Decision To Stage Euro In Israel

Dozens of leading footballers have signed a statement "protesting UEFA's decision" to stage the Euro U21 championship in Israel next year following the country's recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to the AP. Sixty-two players, including Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Abou Diaby and Paris St. Germain's Jeremy Menez, claim that Israel hosting the tournament will be "seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values." The protest statement was promoted Friday by "several pro-Palestinian groups," based in Israel, France and Britain. Titled "European footballers declare support for Palestine," it was not signed by any players due in Israel in June. UEFA President Michel Platini has said that he has "no security concerns" about the eight-team tournament, which will be played from June 5-18 in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Petach Tikva (AP, 11/30).
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