Protest threats from pro-Palestinian groups has caused the FINA Women’s World League water polo match between Spain and Israel to change to a closed-door location.
Lebanese media outlet Naharnet reports that a movement called BDS (for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) called on social media for protests against the water polo match. The group promotes boycotts against Israel specifically, Naharnet reports.
The event was to take place at Molins de Rei in the Barcelona area but organizers changed the venue “for logistical and security reasons,” Naharnet reports. Shortly before the match, the Spanish swimming federation announced that the competition would take place in the Barcelona suburbs and behind closed doors.
The Israeli Olympic Committee said the situation amounted to the host country discriminating, and said the host country – Spain – should lose its right to host other sporting competitions.
FINA released a statement on Tuesday, noting that discrimination based on race, gender, religion or political affiliation goes against FINA’s constitution. FINA’s statement says organizers worked hard to keep the event from being delayed, which it was not.
Here’s FINA’s full statement:
Following the events surrounding the organisation of the Water Polo game between Spain and Israel, counting for the second round of the European preliminaries of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World League, to be held in Barcelona (ESP), FINA would like to clarify:
- According to its Constitutional Rule C 4, “FINA shall not allow any discrimination against National Federations or individuals (competitors, officials, judges, delegates, etc.) on the grounds of race, gender, religion, or political affiliations”;
- Therefore, FINA strongly condemns the actions of any political organisation aiming at disturbing the normal organisation of a sport competition between two Water Polo national teams;
- The competition has been directly organised by the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation and the City of Barcelona;
- After FINA was alerted to the difficulties in staging this match as originally scheduled, everything possible was done to avoid having to alter the date of the game, on November 6, 2018. This was achieved with success.