Anti-Israeli protestors take advantage of security lapse to infiltrate top UEFA dinner

By Martyn Ziegler, Press Association


UEFA says three protesters who caused a disturbance at an official dinner for European football's leaders in London on Friday night were arrested by police.

The trio, two men and a woman, took advantage of a security lapse to infiltrate the dinner to protest about UEFA staging next month's European Under 21 Championship in Israel.

Guests at the event - including David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson - were stunned as one protester jumped on the stage and started shouting slogans, while another stood behind UEFA president Michel Platini with a flag.

Proterst: Protesters march to the UEFA congress in London to protest against the U-21 European Championships in Israel - three even managed to get inside the building

Proterst: Protesters march to the UEFA congress in London to protest against the U-21 European Championships in Israel - three even managed to get inside the building

UEFA said in a statement: 'Three people caused a minor disturbance at the UEFA Congress dinner last night. They were quickly apprehended and arrested by the police.'

The dinner followed UEFA's Congress in London and was organised with the support of the Football Association.

One guest at the event said: 'It was between courses and suddenly this man and woman got on the stage and started shouting things against Israel. Another had a flag and was standing behind Platini.



'Everyone was gobsmacked. It seemed to go on for a few minutes before they were removed.

'It was a bit of a security lapse to say the least. They were smartly dressed in suits but no one could understand how they had got in because we all had to show our invitations.'

Protesters from a group called Red Card Israeli Racism had also staged a demonstration outside the UEFA Congress in London's Grosvenor House hotel earlier in the day.

It is the latest in a series of protests against UEFA - in January a group of pro-Palestinian activists occupied UEFA's headquarters near Geneva.

Eight countries, including England, are taking part in the Under 21 tournament in Israel next month.

Police said a man and a woman, both aged 24, had been arrested.

A spokesman said: 'At approximately 10pm a 24-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman evaded private security at the UEFA Champions League Celebrity Party, being held at Billingsgate Market in the City of London, and managed to reach the stage and launch a protest.

'They were quickly ejected from the event by the private security and the event organisers made a complaint to the City of London Police.

'Shortly after the man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and the woman on suspicion of aggravated trespass and assault.

'Both are currently being held in custody and the City of London Police are now investigating the circumstances of the incident.'


The comments below have been moderated in advance.

I find it sad when politics and sports mix. The beauty of sports in general, and of football in particular, is bringing people from different nations together - not dividing them.

Click to rate     Rating   15

boycott protectors that try to use sport for their political gains. Keep politics out of the beautiful game.

Click to rate     Rating   16

Bit sad isn't it? Using football to get a political message across? Especially in light of the recent occurrences in London. People are quick to protest against Israel but are deafening in their silence with regard to what OUR leaders are doing in OUR countries and what other leaders are doing in theirs. Why don't they protest about Assad in Syria? Or Mugabe in Zimbabwe? And why not leave our beautiful game out of it? Seems its a crime for Israel to be existing, yet chemically attacking the civilians that are entrusting you with power, or giving free entry and livelihood to the people who want you dead is neither newsworthy nor protest-worthy.

Click to rate     Rating   26

Israel are at Europe because of those demonstrates who wants boycott of Israel from every civilised participation. Those Israeli haters don't want them participating in any sports in Asia. Europe owes Israel the right to be part of civilisation and have to ignore all those who trying to demonise a democratic nation.

Click to rate     Rating   4

Then Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece shouldn't be in the Eurovision Song contest

Click to rate     Rating   28

Politics is a no go in Football. On geographic grounds one needs to include Turkey, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Click to rate     Rating   9

No Politics in Football!!! If one wants Israel out then one would also have to remove Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan for geographic reasons. Wait these countries have Oil so we cant say anything.

Click to rate     Rating   33

Israel isn't a part of Europe so should not be in UEFA. Forget the politics, it's just geography.- PhilUpNorth ,.................................................So I guess Turkey should also be banned from European competition, Cyprus is also only a short distance from Israel, should they be banned too?

Click to rate     Rating   13

Those who do not embrace peaceful protest against the occupation of Palestine are pro terrorism . At least we can peacefully protest in Britain without being run over with bulldozers,without being shot in the head with tear gas canisters,without being abducted and held without charge,without being smashed around the head with rifle butts

Click to rate     Rating   3

Israel isn't a part of Europe so should not be in UEFA. Forget the politics, it's just geography. - PhilUpNorth , Up North, 25/5/2013 08:58 And who should they play against? The lovely middle eastern countries like saudi arabia, syria, pakistan etc?

Click to rate     Rating   18
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