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Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Kanoute faces T-shirt fine

Frederic Kanoute
Kanoute is a devout Muslim

Frederic Kanoute is facing a fine from the Spanish football federation for revealing a T-shirt expressing support for Palestine during a match.

The Mali striker lifted his Sevilla shirt over his head after scoring in the team's 2-1 Copa del Rey win over Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday.

He displayed a black T-shirt on which the word "Palestine" was printed in several languages.

The federation's competition committee is to study the incident on Friday.

Kanoute, who was born in France but plays internationally for Mali, is a practicing Muslim.

Kanoute's action, which has been interpreted as a response to Israel's recent attacks on Gaza that have killed nearly 700 people, was met with a yellow card from referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

Lahoz said in his post-match report that he'd cautioned Kanoute for raising his shirt over his head in accordance with federation rules, while also noting the message of the striker's T-shirt.

Raphael Schultz, Israel's ambassador in Madrid, told Radio Marca on Thursday that Kanoute's gesture "had gone beyond his profession and FIFA rules to this respect."

"I saw the match and the T-shirt bore nothing more than the name of Palestine. It was not an incitement against Israel. I don't think it extolled violence," Schultz said.

Meanwhile, Palestine embassy official Mahmoud Aluanen told the same station that Kanoute "has shown himself to be a very brave person to support our people at a public event."

"Sportsmen are human beings and cannot contain their feelings. They have all the right in the world to express their opinion about matters which contravene human rights.

"I'm sure that all Palestinian children, those who love football, will be happy about this gesture," Aluanen added.

The incident came a day before Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas paid a visit to Madrid for talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos.



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see also
Stars turn out for Kanoute match
14 May 08 |  African
Devout worshipper
12 Dec 07 |  African


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