FA urges 'extreme caution' over comments on the Middle East conflict

EXCLUSIVE: FA issues guidance to clubs warning players and staff to take ‘extreme caution’ when commenting on the Middle East conflict… after a ban on the pro-Palestinian phrase ‘from the river to the sea’

  • The FA’s guidance has called for everyone involved in football to show restraint
  • Comments deemed to be inflammatory could lead to sanctions from the FA
  • Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury escaped an FA charge over a social media post 

The Football Association has ordered clubs to advise their players and staff to exercise ‘extreme caution’ when publicly commenting on the Middle East conflict.

Earlier on Wednesday, English football’s governing body revealed its intention to write to clubs to inform them the use of the specific phrase ‘from the river to the sea’ – that has strong pro-Palestine connotations – is now banned.

The FA has now sent the guidance to clubs and Mail Sport can reveal the document’s contents.

The letter, sent to club secretaries, reads: ‘We recognise opinions are divided and we urge caution for those who take to social media where messages can be misinterpreted and cause offence.

‘We are aware there is heightened sensitivity and we want to call on everyone involved in football to exercise restraint when expressing views that could be seen as causing offence to any community.

The FA has urged ‘extreme caution’ over public comments on the ongoing Middle East conflict

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‘At this difficult time, everyone in football should show respect for each other and understand the impact language and symbols can have on others.

‘In particular, and as highlighted by the Prime Minister, the phrase “From the River to the Sea” is causing deep offence to many people.

‘We would urge all within football to exercise extreme caution in their use of social media and public comments and we will continue to keep this phrase and any other under review.

‘In the event this specific phrase is used going forward by any Participant we will be seeking guidance from relevant authorities, including police, as to its use.

‘We ask all clubs to speak to their players and others within clubs to encourage any use of social media or public comments to be responsible and respectful.’

The circular then goes on to warn that any public comment deemed to be ‘inflammatory or capable of causing offence’ will leave the participant in danger of FA sanctions.

The letter ends: ‘In the meantime, our thoughts are with all those innocent victims, their families and with all the communities who are affected this ongoing conflict.’

On Monday, Mail Sport revealed how Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury was left facing an FA charge after using the ‘from the river to sea’ on his social media channels as the violent conflict between Israeli and Palestine escalates.

Hamza Choudhury was not charged for his pro-Palestine social media post after FA decision

Choudhury appeared to post a pro-Palestinian social media message on Monday

The former England Under-21 midfielder’s post was accompanied by an emoji of the Palestinian flag.

Choudhury, who has since apologised and deleted the post, has escaped FA action.

But the organisation have now confirmed that they could punish any other players or footballing staff who use the phrase in the future.

The news comes as Mail Sport revealed that clubs had grown irritated clubs by the lack of guidance from the FA and Premier League on how to advise players over making public messages linked to the ongoing Middle East conflict.

But the FA’s letter arrives as a clear and important piece of communication for footballing staff moving forward moving forward.


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