In a significant move, The Football Association (FA) has chosen to distance itself from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement amidst growing concerns that the organization was inadvertently supporting a group linked to Hamas terrorists. This decision comes as a response to criticism and questions surrounding the FA’s association with BLM, given recent developments related to the movement.
The London FA’s website prominently features a section dedicated to BLM, which also references guidance from the national FA affirming its support for the movement. Originally published in 2020, following the tragic murder of George Floyd and the subsequent BLM protests, this section remained active even as other entities, including the Premier League, distanced themselves from BLM due to its controversial political positions.
Notably, Coca-Cola recently removed references to its financial support for BLM from its official website. This action followed controversy sparked by a now-deleted post from BLM’s Chicago chapter, which displayed an image of a paraglider with the message “I stand with Palestine.”
Both the FA and London FA have clarified that their support for BLM centers exclusively on its anti-discrimination message and explicitly disavow any endorsement of groups that advocate or condone violence.
However, the FA has been embroiled in a contentious debate regarding its refusal to illuminate the Wembley arch with the colors of the Israeli flag as a gesture of solidarity in response to recent attacks by Hamas in Israel. This stance has led to condemnation from the government, with some questioning why the London FA’s webpage remains unaltered in light of these recent events.
A Whitehall source expressed concerns about commercial sponsors distancing themselves from BLM due to its perceived support for Hamas, characterizing the FA’s position as unusual. The source also alleged that this situation left “many in the Jewish community feeling like Black lives matter but Jewish ones don’t.”
Mark Bullingham, the CEO of the FA, acknowledged that not illuminating the Wembley arch in the Israeli flag’s colors had caused distress in the Jewish community. Nevertheless, he defended the FA’s response to the “acts of terror” by Hamas, including honoring all individuals who lost their lives in the conflict.
In a statement that was jointly endorsed by the London FA, an FA spokesperson reiterated their commitment to using their influence to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion within the sport. They emphasized that their support for BLM is based on its anti-racism and anti-discrimination message. Moreover, the FA reaffirmed its status as an apolitical organization, reiterating its non-endorsement of any political group, ideology, or movement, especially those that advocate or condone violence and illegal activities.