FA’s Martin Glenn apologises for Star of David, swastika and Mugabe comments

Comments came following controversy over Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon

 

Martin Glenn has apologised for offence he caused when referencing the Star of David as one of the symbols he believes breach laws banning religious and political imagery in football.

The English FA chief executive mentioned the Star of David in the same breath as the swastika and former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, angering the Jewish community.

Glenn was commenting about the yellow ribbon worn by Pep Guardiola in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians. Glenn had said: “It could be the Star of David, it could the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like Robert Mugabe on your shirt, these are the things we don’t want.”

But he later apologised for his comment, releasing a statement which read: “I would like to apologise for any offence caused by the examples I gave when referring to political and religious symbols in football, specifically in reference to the Star of David, which is a hugely important symbol to Jewish people all over the world. I will be speaking with the Jewish Leadership Council and to Kick It Out to personally apologise.”

Criticism

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson had earlier criticised Glenn. He said: “I have no problem with the FA clarifying rule four and specifying that all religious symbols are prohibited on a kit, if that is the case.

“In explaining that decision, the chief executive’s examples are ill-judged and in poor taste. The Star of David is a Jewish religious symbol of immense importance to Jews worldwide. To put it in the same bracket as the swastika and Robert Mugabe is offensive and inappropriate. We will raise formally with the FA the Jewish community’s deep disappointment with this statement.”

Johnson later said he had spoken to Glenn and accepted the apology: “I spoke to Martin Glenn today. I explained why his comments yesterday has caused such serious offence. Martin apologised, explained the context for his comments and stated that he did not intend to cause offence, which I accepted. We have agreed to meet soon along with the CST [Community Security Trust, a charity which supports British Jews]. I have thanked the FA for their apology and I am glad that this has been dealt with swiftly.”

– Guardian

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