BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Chile’s top soccer league fined the Palestine Football Club for wearing uniforms showing the entire map of Israel as Palestine.
On Monday, the National Association of Professional Football of Chile, or ANFP, by unanimous decision penalized the soccer team some $1,300 for having the map on the back of the jerseys in place of the numeral 1. The ANFP also ruled that the team, which wore the jerseys in three games this month, must redesign the uniforms to include numerals for player numbers.
The ANFP in punishing the Palestine team said it was opposed to “any form of political, religious, sexual, ethnic, social or racial discrimination.”
The decision followed a request by Patrick Kiblisky Fried, the Jewish president of Chile’s Deportivo Nublense SDAP club, which plays in the same league.
Fernando Aguad, president of the Palestine team, said following the decision, “We accept the resolution and we will change our uniform.”
The club, which was founded in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants to Chile, must pay the fine to the soccer federation within three days.
Maximiliano Grass, director of the Chile Israel Council, the Zionist Federation of Chile, told JTA after the decision, “The leaders of the Jewish Community of Chile have always spoken of peace, inviting the Palestinian community as a whole to rebuild the positive relationship that the first immigrants from both communities used to have when they first came to Chile. But in the meantime, as we experience constant defamation by the local Palestinian leadership, we won’t just stand passively and watch.”
The Palestinian community in Chile is believed to be the largest outside of the Middle East. At least 300,000 Chileans are of Palestinian descent, according to reports.