Saudi footballer appears to damage Israeli flag on FIFA Legends uniform

A Saudi Arabian footballer, who took part in a “legends” football match in Qatar, appeared to scribble the Israeli flag on his uniform, according to images shared on social media.

Nawaf Al-Temyat, playing for the FIFA Arab Legends in a match against the FIFA World Legends on Friday at an exhibition event ahead of the FIFA Arab Cup final, was seen with a damaged 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 game in protest against opposing Israeli coach Avram Grant.

Rabah Madjer, Rafik Sa├»fi and Rafik Halliche all decided they would not play in the match due to Grant’s involvement as a coach and player for the World Legends team.

Although the World Legends team seemed stronger at the start of the match, the Arab Legends fought back to eventually win in a penalty shootout.

There was no mention of the boycott in the report about the game on the FIFA website.

Grant’s public appearance at a game in Qatar was in itself unusual – Qatar has no normalized ties to Israel and is a major donor to Hamas-controlled Gaza, which distributes aid payments to Palestinian residents in the enclave.

Grant previously managed English football giant Chelsea and coached the Israel 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, the Algeria football team was set to withdraw from a friendly with Ghana as the latter had Grant as its head coach.

In September, Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine was banned from the competition for 10 years by the International Judo Federation after he withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid a possible confrontation with an Israeli opponent.

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