Chris McGreal makes 3rd unforced error in story on footballers signing anti-Israel petition

The Guardian’s Chris McGreal (recently singled out in a CST Report on Antisemitic Discourse) recently published a story about a petition signed by some footballers calling for European football’s governing body to cancel Israel’s hosting of a 2013 European competition in response to the Gaza war.  (‘Footballers condemn plans to hold U21 European Championship in Israel‘, Guardian, Nov. 30)

However, after a CiF Watch post demonstrated that two of the footballers cited by McGreal as signing the petition - former Chelsea player Didier Drogba and Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye - flatly denied signing it, the Guardian revised McGreal’s piece accordingly, and noted the following on their corrections page.

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Well, it looks like the Guardian’s ‘Corrections’ editor will have more work to do, as the Daily Mail is reporting that another footballer cited by McGreal, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, has also denied signing the petition.

The Daily Mail’s Charles Sale wrote:

“Hazard had not contributed to the petition. His agent John Bico said: ‘Eden never speaks about his political opinions and he certainly never signed anything.’” 

You can email Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott (reader@guardian.co.uk), and Tweet Chris McGreal (@ChrisMcGreal), to point out the additional error. 

Two footballers cited by Chris McGreal as endorsers of anti-Israel petition flatly deny signing it

H/T Raphael

The Guardian’s Chris McGreal published a story (Footballers condemn plans to hold U21 European Championship in Israel‘) on Nov. 30 about a petition signed by some footballers calling for European football’s governing body to cancel Israel’s hosting of an important 2013 European competition in response to the recent Gaza war.

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McGreal’s piece begins, thus:

“A group of Premier League footballers and players in other major European leagues have condemned plans to hold the Under-21 European championship in Israel next year, saying it will be seen as a “reward” for this month’s assault on Gaza in which young people playing football were killed when a sports stadium was bombed.

The signatories, who include Eden Hazard of Chelsea, Abou Diaby of Arsenal and five Newcastle players – Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tioté, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba – also criticised Israel’s continued detention without charge or trial of two Palestinian footballers.

Several former Premier League players have also signed the letter, including Didier Drogba and Frédéric Kanouté, both of whom now play in China. Players with QPR, Stoke, Blackburn and Ipswich are among the signatories along with footballers in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey.”

While you can read our post about the broader issue of McGreal’s lack of interest in the fact that Hamas used the Gaza sports stadium in question as a rocket launching site during the war, at least two of the players cited by McGreal in this latest report have flatly denied signing the petition.

Former Chelsea player Didier Drogba denied signing the petition, and wrote the following on Twitter: “Please note I did not sign this petition or give my support to this initiative.”

Additionally, Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye says he, too, didn’t sign the anti-Israel petition. According to the Daily Reporter, Cabaye says that he “has never been a signatory” to the campaign.

The petition appears to have been organized by former Tottenham and Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute, whose personal website lists 62 players (including Drogba and Cabaye) allegedly supporting the anti-Israel action.

You can Tweet Fredric Kanoute @FredricKanoute and ask that he remove the names of Drogba and Cabaye from his site. 

Also, Kanoute has an open Facebook page, which means that you can comment beneath links he shares, such as this one:

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While you’re at it, you can also Tweet Chris McGreal @ChrisMcGreal and ask that he revise his report accordingly.