LONDON - Three protesters who caused a disturbance at an official dinner for European football's leaders in London on Friday night were arrested by police. The trio, two men and a woman, took advantage of a security lapse to infiltrate the dinner to protest about UEFA staging next month's European Under-21 Championship in Israel.
Guests at the event - including David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson - were stunned as one protester jumped on the stage and started shouting slogans, while another stood behind UEFA President Michel Platini with a flag.
UEFA said in a statement: "Three people caused a minor disturbance at the UEFA Congress dinner [Friday] night. They were quickly apprehended and arrested by the police."
The dinner followed UEFA's Congress in London and was organized with the support of the Football Association.
One guest said: "It was between courses and suddenly this man and woman got on the stage and started shouting things against Israel. Another had a flag and was standing behind Platini. Everyone was [amazed]. It seemed to go on for a few minutes before they were removed. It was a bit of a security lapse, to say the least. They were smartly dressed in suits, but no one could understand how they had got in because we all had to show our invitations."
Protesters from a group called Red Card Israeli Racism had also staged a demonstration outside the UEFA Congress in London's Grosvenor House hotel earlier in the day. It is the latest in a series of protests against UEFA - in January a group of pro-Palestinian activists occupied UEFA's headquarters near Geneva.
Meanwhile, Israel's Avi Luzon was elected for a second term on UEFA's Executive Committee by members of the organization who had gathered in London.
"I'm delighted to have been reelected to the committee," Luzon told Haaretz yesterday. "I'd like to thank [UEFA President Michel] Platini. I am proud to be representing Israel for a second time. I will continue to work tirelessly for the good of European and Israeli soccer."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now