Sunday, October 17, 2010

Did Milan police ban the Israeli flag from a soccer game?

Ha'aretz reports:
Fans of the English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur FC are being told not to bring any flags with the Jewish Star of David on it if they plan to cheer their team on in its European championship game on Thursday in Milan, Italy.

The soccer club, which has a large Jewish following, posted on its website about the upcoming game in Italy: "police authorities have advised that those flags showing the Star of David will not be allowed access and may be confiscated. Please respect this request."

Indeed, the Tottenham Hotspurs website does say that in its list of advice for fans planning to attend the game.

However, Milan police deny banning the flags:

Italian authorities on Friday denied reports that Milanese police had told Tottenham fans coming to watch their side in Champions League action at Inter Milan on Wednesday not to bring Star of David banners.

The star is a traditional club symbol extending beyond religious connotations - though the London side do have a solid base of Jewish fans.

...Via Milanese local politician Emanuele Fiano, the police denied issuing such a specific instruction.

"The Milan prefect, Gian Valerio Lombardi, with whom I have spoken, has denied that any Italian police authority has made any stipulation against banners bearing the Star of David," Fiano said.

"I note as much with satisfaction, as otherwise I would have gone to the stadium myself with a Star of David flag," he added.

The Star of David flags have an association with Spurs going back to the club's early days in the 1880s.