Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo carried a Palestine flag around Old Trafford during the club’s end-of-season lap of honor after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Fulham.
As lockdown restrictions in England eased, a small section of Manchester United fans was allowed to return to stadiums last Sunday to cheer their team on. The team is set to finish second in the Premier League this season.
United was playing their final home match of the season, though still travel to Wolves on Sunday in their final Premier League game and then Gdansk for the Europa League final against Villarreal.
Pogba carried aloft a Palestinian flag as he walked around the ground after the match, with youngster Diallo soon after.
France international Pogba has already shown his support for the Palestinian people on social media, writing last week: ‘The world needs peace and love.
It will soon be Eid. Let us all love one another #PrayForPalestine.’ He reiterated that message on Tuesday, saying: ‘Let’s keep our world safe and free from violence.
It is Pogba who has expressed the most public solidarity with Palestine during the current conflict in the middle east, although he isn’t the only Premier League player to do so.
Asked about Pogba and Diallo’s show of support, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: ‘Well I think we have players from different backgrounds, different cultures, different countries and I think we need to respect their views if they differ from someone else’s.
I believe that it is positive for the players if they think of other things than football, and we have seen that with players in the past. Look at Marcus Rashford, the difference he has made. So we respect their right to hold a different viewpoint.’
While political messages have resulted in punishments in the past for players on undershirts, for example – Leicester City players Wesley Fofana and Hamza Choudhury displayed a Palestinian flag after Leicester City won the FA Cup on Saturday.
The FA does not punish players for displaying the flags of nations after a game and, indeed, many wear wristbands in the color of their country so the players are free to display Palestinian or Israeli flags if they so choose.
It could be a different story if Pogba displays the Palestine flag after the Europa League final, however, with teams having been punished by Uefa in the past for political messages.
A Palestinian flag was flown during Celtic’s Champions League game with Hapoel Be’er Sheva in 2016 and the club was fined £8,616.
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