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15 Mar, 2022 16:30

Squash star decries ‘double standards’ over Ukraine and Palestine (VIDEO)

Ali Farag said athletes couldn't make statements about Palestine, but can freely speak their mind on Ukraine
Squash star decries ‘double standards’ over Ukraine and Palestine (VIDEO)

World squash number two Ali Farag has accused sport and the Western media of double standards by freely discussing the situation in Ukraine yet refraining from talking about the plight of Palestinians.

Egyptian Farag was speaking after winning the Optasia 2022 Squash Champion title at the Wimbledon Club in London, which was his first tournament victory on British soil.

Triumphing 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11 against world number six Diego Elias, Farag took the opportunity to make a speech that wasn't included in the official highlights of the match on the Professional Squash Association's YouTube channel later on.

"One more thing that I know is going to get me in trouble, but you know we've all seen what's going on in the world at the moment with Ukraine and nobody is happy about what's going [on],” Farag began.

"Nobody should ever accept any killings in the world, any oppression," he continued. "But we've never been allowed to speak about politics in sports, but all of a sudden now it's allowed. So, [now] that we're allowed, I hope that people also look at the oppression everywhere in the world."

"I mean, the Palestinians have been going through that for the past 74 years and, well, I guess because it doesn't fit the narrative of the media of the West, we couldn't talk about it, but now that we can talk about the Ukraine, we can talk about Palestinians. So please keep that in mind," Farag demanded.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have faced widespread bans across dozens of sports in the wake of Moscow's military campaign launched in Ukraine last month, which President Vladimir Putin has said is aimed at protecting citizens in the newly recognized republics in Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as 'demilitarizing' and 'de-Nazifying' Ukraine itself. 

The move has been condemned by the West, with the response spilling over into sport with sweeping sanctions slapped on Russian athletes and sporting dignitaries speaking out freely against Russia. 

Russian officials have decried the bans as discriminatory and undermining the principle of sport remaining outside politics. 

Regarding Palestine, Scottish football club Celtic were fined around $11,000 by European governing body UEFA in 2016 after some of their fans waved the Palestine flag when taking on Israeli club Hapoel Be'er in a Champions League qualifier at Celtic Park.

For the return leg, Celtic fans were warned by Israeli police not to wave the "illict banner" which the club were fined $21,000 for their supporters displaying in another Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik two years before that.

As a response to the discipline, Celtic's Green Brigade ultras donated £176,000 (US$220,000) to two Palestinian charities as part of a crowdfunding project.

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