Wembley will no longer light up to mark terror attacks and social causes

todayNovember 22, 2023 4

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Wembley will no longer light up to mark terror attacks and social causes

The Wembley Stadium arch will no longer be lit to show solidarity with countries in the wake of terror attacks and natural disasters.

It follows criticism for not illuminating the landmark in the colours of the Israeli flag after the Hamas atrocities.

The arch will now only light in colours directly linked to the stadium’s use as a sport and entertainment venue, Sky News understands.

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FA branded ‘spineless’ after not lighting arch in Israeli colours

It is understood the arch will also no longer be used to highlight inclusion and diversity campaigns – in recent years, it has been lit in rainbow colours to support LGBTQ+ rights.

This removes the expectation the arch will be lit – and the need for the Football Association to assess sometimes complex geopolitical situations.

Over the years, the Wembley arch has adopted the colours of the flags of countries including France, Turkey and Ukraine within days of attacks.

But the FA decided not to light it in the blue and white of Israel after the Hamas massacres on a string of kibbutzim close to the Gaza border and a large outdoor music festival on 7 October.

The wave of attacks in southern Israel killed about 1,200 – the deadliest day of attacks against Jewish people since the Holocaust – and approximately 240 hostages were taken into Gaza.

But the unprecedented attack prompted Israel to launch a war to eradicate Hamas – killing thousands in Gaza with concerns about the high number of civilian fatalities.

Read more from Sky News:
Israel and Hamas agree to pause fighting

Actress fired from new Scream movie over Israel-Gaza posts

The Wembley Stadium arch illuminated in support of France after the 2015 Paris attacks Pic: AP

The Wembley Stadium arch illuminated in support of France after the 2015 Paris attacks Pic: AP

Against that backdrop – and an outpouring of pro-Palestinian activism within England and among footballers – the FA opted against a show of solidarity with Israel at Wembley.

Instead, the FA decided on a silence to “remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine” ahead of a men’s international last month between England and Australia at Wembley.

The lack of “specific tribute” to Israel led to the resignation of the chair of the FA’s Faith in Football network, Rabbi Alex Goldberg.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “I recognise that our decision caused hurt to the Jewish community who felt that we should have lit the arch and that we should have shown stronger support for them.

“This was one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make, and the last thing we ever wanted to do in this situation was to add to the hurt.

“We aren’t asking for everyone to agree with our decision, but to understand how we reached it.”

The Daily Telegraph first reported that the FA board ratified the new policy, which means the FA cannot be accused of taking sides on conflicts by no longer lighting the arc in relation to geopolitical issues or national tragedies.

The FA will still back causes such as Rainbow Laces even if the arch will not be part of the activism.

Written by: Newsroom

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