Freddie Kanoute Shows Support for Palestine in the Copa del Rey
Sevilla’s French-born Malian international striker Frederic Kanoute displayed a t-shirt with the word “Palestine” in various languages during his side’s 2-1 Spanish Cup over Deportivo Coruna in the Copa del Rey / Spanish Cup
The 31-year-old lifted his jersey to show the t-shirt after his side scored late Wednesday in what was seen as an act of support for Palestinians in Gaza where an Israeli military offensive has
claimed more than 700 lives since it began on December 27
Kanoute has been a Sevilla player since a 2005 move from English Premiership side Tottenham
and is a practising Muslim who has supported various humanitarian causes in the past
Kanoute now faces possible sanctions from the Spanish football federation and FIFA if they consider that he broadcast a political message during an official match
Kanoute's action, which has been interpreted as a response to Israel's recent attacks on Gaza that have killed nearly 700 people, was met with a yellow card from referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Lahoz said in his post-match report that he'd cautioned Kanoute for raising his shirt over his head in accordance with federation rules, while also noting the message of the striker's T-shirt
Raphael Schultz, Israel's ambassador in Madrid, told Radio Marca on Thursday that Kanoute's gesture "had gone beyond his profession and FIFA rules to this respect'
"I saw the match and the T-shirt bore nothing more than the name of Palestine. It was not an incitement against Israel. I don't think it extolled violence,'' Schultz said
Meanwhile, Palestine embassy official Mahmoud Aluanen told the same station that Kanoute "has shown himself to be a very brave person to support our people at a public event"
"Sportsmen are human beings and cannot contain their feelings. They have all the right in the world to express their opinion about matters which contravene human rights. I'm sure that all Palestinian children, those who love football, will be happy about this gesture,'' Aluanen added
The incident came a day before Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas paid a visit to Madrid for talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos
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