The first leg of the Europa League Conference between Maccabi Tel Aviv and OGC Nice, on Thursday 18 August, saw the participation of three Algerian internationals: Youcef Atal, Andy Delort and Bilal Brahim.
They were part of the Nice eleven that played in the match that was played in Tel Aviv. Defensive midfielder Hicham Bouadoui, the Aiglons’ fourth Algerian, was unable to travel with a back injury.
Nice lost by two goals to nil. During this match, the Algerian winger Youcef Atal was booed by the Maccabi crowd throughout the match.
The same treatment was reserved for the Moroccan international defender of Paris Saint Germain (PSG), who was whistled every time he touched the ball by the public at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium during the Champions Trophy match against FC Nantes on 31 of July.
Systematically whistling every time he touched the ball, Israeli spectators reproached Hakimi for his public support of Palestine. This is the second time that the Moroccan international has been booed by the Israeli public, after the 2021 edition of the Trophée des Champions beat Lille (1-0).
| Also read: Algeria: Hicham Boudaoui lynched for his trip to Israel
In the case of both Youcef Atal and Achraf Hakimi, the attitude of the Israeli fans is not explained by sporting reasons, but obviously by political considerations linked to the players’ support for the Palestinian cause.
The hostile reactions towards the two Algerian and Moroccan players did not arouse any reaction from the European Club Association (UEFA) insofar as these are incidents that occurred during a European competition.
The club’s management also prefers to look the other way. While their players are whistled by Israeli club supporters for non-sporting reasons, the coaches and staff of Nice and PSG don’t even flinch.
They do not condemn such acts when otherwise such an attitude towards the Israeli players would have caused them to kick the stretcher. In the two cases of Atal and Hakimi, the management of OGC Nice and PSG preferred to look the other way rather than show their support for their players.
If the two Algerian and Moroccan internationals, Youcef Atal and Achraf Hakimi, have chosen to travel to the land of occupied Palestine, other actors who support the struggle of the Palestinian people for an independent state have flatly refused to go to Israel.
Algerian international Youcef Atal is whistled at every time he touches the ball by the “Israeli” crowd at Maccabi Tel Aviv!
Strength to him! 🇩🇿 pic.twitter.com/ZxIgMyg1jx
— 𝗖𝗗𝗙 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 🇵🇸 (@CDF_Football) August 18, 2022
Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir’s Algerian international Ahmed Touba refused to travel to Israel where his club faced Maccabi Netanya in the Europa Conference League at the end of July.
Likewise, the Algerian striker Mohamed-Amine Amoura refused to participate in the match between his club FC Lugano (Switzerland) and the Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva, played on August 11.
Ultimately, Algerian internationals playing in Europe face a dilemma. But whatever they do, it’s guaranteed double punishment.
In this case, if they refuse to participate in matches between their Israeli teams and formations in Israel, they expose themselves to sanctions or exclusion from their clubs, which can jeopardize their careers.
If they participate, Israeli supporters systematically yell at them on the pitch, exposing themselves to the wrath of their Algerian supporters who see their participation as a form of recognition of Israel and the occupation of Palestine.
In December 2020, Hicham Boudaoui was the subject of a veritable media lynching on Algerian networks after his trip to Israel with Israel.
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