Two Villarreal players refuse to take part in minute's silence

Villarreal players Aissa Mandi and Ilias Akhomach REFUSE to participate in minute’s silence ahead of clash with Israeli side Maccabi Haifa… as Palestinian victims from the conflict ‘were not honoured’

  • Israeli side Maccabi Haifa play Spanish club Villarreal in Cyprus on Thursday 
  • A minute’s silence was held before the game for Israeli victims during the crisis 
  • What is the WORST Premier League hat-trick? – Find out on It’s All Coming Up

Two of Villarreal’s players refused to take part in a minute’s silence ahead of their Europa League clash with Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, as Palestinian victims were not honoured.

It was the first time that Maccabi have played since 1,400 people were killed by Hamas terrorists in the attacks that took place last month. Since the Hamas attacks, more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. 

The match was held in Larnaka, Cyprus due to the conflict, and as per Football Espana, Maccabi had informed Villarreal and UEFA they would be holding a minute of silence for the victims of the October 7 attack. 

Villarreal had said their players would be respecting victims on both sides of the Gaza strip conflict, but two of their stars decided not to take part in the silence because the home side were ‘not honouring the lives’ of the innocent Palestinian people who have died. 

Algerian centre-back Aissa Mandi and Spanish winger of Moroccan descent Ilias Akhomach left the Villarreal line, with only nine of their players joining at the centre-circle to take part in the silence. 

Only nine Villarreal players took part in a minute’s silence ahead of their clash with Israeli side Maccabi Haifa 

Algerian Aissa Mandi (left) and Spanish winger of Moroccan descent Ilias Akhomach (right) refused to take part as it didn’t honour Palestinian victims

Maccabi Haifa’s bench showed the Israeli flag during the minute’s silence to honour victims

Before kick-off, Maccabi coaches held two Israeli flags aloft as the starting XIs gathered for the minute’s silence in memory of Hamas’s victims.

The club also posted on their social media accounts that 1,400 balloons were placed in the stands at the stadium in Cyprus.

The balloons in blue and white colours showed the Star of David in the middle.  

As reported by the Guardian, a message over tannoy stating: ‘We stand in memory of 1,400 Israelis.

‘Men, women , kids and babies murdered by Hamas in the evil terrorist attack on October 7. May their memory be with us for ever.’

Maccabi Haifa manager Messay Dego said after the game: ‘I focus on my team, my people. I will not disrespect them or their club.’

He added: ‘It’s very tough to talk about a football. A lot of our fans were killed. But Israel is very strong and we will get through it.’

The Israeli side suffered a 2-1 defeat in Cyprus in their first game since the Hamas attacks

The Israeli side suffered a 2-1 defeat in what was their first match since a 3-2 victory over Maccabi Netanya on October 1.

The conflict has become a controversial issue within the footballing community.

Former Aston Villa player Anwar El Ghazi was recently sacked by German club Mainz after he said he had ‘no remorse or regret’ over a pro-Palestine post on social media.  


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