Arab players remove the Israeli flag from their football shirts

Arab players taking part in an exhibition match at the Arab Cup in Qatar removed the Israeli flag from their shirts in protest, while others withdrew from the game due to the presence of Israeli coach Avram Grant.

A number of Arab soccer players taking part in an exhibition match removed the Israeli flag from their jerseys, which displayed the flags of all qualifying countries.

The players’ decision follows a separate protest from three former Algerian players, who opted out of the match after discovering an Israeli coach would be present.

The main event took place in Qatar as part of the Arab Cup, which Algeria won on Saturday evening.

The event was considered a warm-up for the 2022 World Cup.

Players in the showcase wore shirts with all participating FIFA countries, including Israel, prompting a number of players to take it upon themselves to remove the Israeli flag from their shirts before the game began.

Saudi player Nawaf Al-Temyat, Syrian Firas Al-Khatib, Iraqi Younis Mahmoud and Qatari journalist Mohammed Saadoun were among the protesters.

Before the match, Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saïfi and Rafik Halliche all announced that they would not take part in the match due to the involvement of Israeli coach Avram Grant.

Grant’s presence at the event raised some questions, since Qatar does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Grant previously served as manager of English side Chelsea and also managed the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.

His presence at a football match involving Arab teams has caused problems before, including in 2016 when Algeria withdrew from a friendly match against Ghana, which Grant was coaching at the time.

The Arab Cup concluded on Saturday night, after a thrilling showdown between Tunisia and Algeria, with the latter taking the lead, winning 2-0.

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