A Saudi Arabian soccer player, competing in a “legends” soccer game in Qatar, appeared to scribble out the Israeli flag on his uniform, according to images shared on social media.
Nawaf Al-Temyat, playing for the FIFA Arab Legends in a game on Friday against the FIFA World Legends at an exhibition event ahead of the FIFA Arab Cup final, was seen with a defaced Israeli flag on his uniform.
T-shirts for the friendly match carried the flags of all 211 FIFA member states, including Israel.
There was no immediate comment from FIFA.
The incident comes after three Algerian players withdrew from the match in protest at the opposing team’s Israeli coach, Avram Grant.
Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saïfi and Rafik Halliche all decided they would not play in the game over Grant’s involvement as coach and player for the World Legends team.
نواف التمياط ظهر طامسًا علم " مين ده " بمباراة نجوم العرب ضد نجوم العالم ، موقف يحسب له ويشكر عليه ، ولو انَّ الانسحاب كان الموقف الافضل والأحسن لأنَّ مدرب نجوم العالم كان صهيونيًا .. ولكن شيئًا أفضل من لا شيء pic.twitter.com/Qv64JfrFch
— عبدالله . (@_night01) December 18, 2021
Although the World Legends team appeared stronger at the start of the game, the Arab Legends battled back to eventually win in a penalty shootout.
There was no mention of the boycott in the report on the game featured on FIFA’s website.
Grant’s public appearance at a game in Qatar was in itself unusual — Qatar does not have normalized ties with Israel and is a key donor to Hamas-controlled Gaza, distributing aid payments to Palestinian residents in the enclave.
شوفوا حركة نواف التمياط بالتيشرت اليوم مباراة نجوم العالم ياخيي ابو بندر حب اكثر لاعب احبه خارج الاتحاد ???? .. pic.twitter.com/hCqgMjy2Tb
— يبُاش | H9 (@xq_1) December 18, 2021
Grant formerly managed English soccer giant Chelsea, and served as coach of the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.
Algeria has no diplomatic ties with Israel and has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause.
In 2016, Algeria’s soccer team reportedly pulled out of a friendly match with Ghana because the latter had Grant as head coach.
In September, Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine was banned from competition for 10 years by the International Judo Federation after his withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid a potential bout against an Israeli opponent.