Both Polish and Israeli players stood in silence after the referee blew his whistle to start the game and no action took place for the opening minute. The players remained in their formational positions rather than congregating in a line for traditional pre-match tributes and there was silence around Stadium LKS.
Town Hall (h/t Steven G) The gesture in Lodz came after football governing body, UEFA, the Union of European Football Association’s decision NOT to hold a moment of silence out of respect for the Israelis massacred in the October 7th terror attacks committed by Hamas.
UEFA refused to organize a minute of silence before the start of the match between #Israel and Poland (under-21 team). In response, the two teams decided not to play the first minute of the match and observe a minute of silence in homage to the victims of #7October pic.twitter.com/wcwojTDBUy
— Michael Weingardt (@Michael_Wgd) November 17, 2023
In many ways, this demonstration of moral strength far exceeds the impact of an authorized moment of silence, which often seems pro-forma. To have players–and in this case, young players who have the most to risk–take a stand against the more cynical and politically calculating executives makes a powerful point against the moral equivalence crowd and the executives who are too jaded and selfish to stand up for what is right.
Eastern European countries as a group rock, but this was above and beyond what one could expect, given that they were defying the powers that be who control their fate.
To add insult to the UEFA, Israel’s senior captain brought the shoe of a kidnapped Israeli boy to the pre-game press conference, emphasizing that the terrorism of Hamas continues for the hostages they took. It was left behind when he was taken.