Australia Football Administrators Slammed for Banning pro-Gaza Billboards

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Members of the Australian Palestinian community holds flags and chant slogans as they participate in a protest against Israel's military action in Gaza, in Sydney, July 20, 2014.Credit: Reuters

A ban on billboards in support of Palestinians at Australia's Adelaide Oval stadium drew criticism Sunday, with a local activist group accusing sports administrators of censorship.

The Australian Football League decided last week to not allow slogans such as "Save Palestine," "Save Gaza" or "Help the Children of Gaza" to be displayed during matches.

The decision came after a local restaurant owner and the Australian Friends of Palestine Association member asked to run the messages at the venue as part of a fundraising appeal.

"I cannot believe in this day and age we censor this sort of humanitarian appeal to help other people in need," association chairman Sam Shahin was quoted saying in the Sunday Mail.

"Whoever has made the call to ban this type of humanitarian appeal, I hope they can sleep comfortably with that."

League spokesman Patrick Keane said it did not accept "political statements," whether local or international.

Adelaide Oval, with a capacity of around 50,000, is best known as one of the world's leading international test cricket venues. It is also the home grounds of two top Australian rules football teams, the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows.

The Adelaide Oval stadium in Adelaide, Australia.Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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