AFL backflips on Israeli flag ban controversy

North Melbourne rookie's brilliant debut overshadowed by flag drama, AFL apologises for 'confusion'.

AFL backflips on Israeli flag ban controversy
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The AFL has “clarified” its stance on the Israeli flag after an official was quoted as saying that Israeli flags were not welcome at games. 

The drama occurred after North Melbourne’s game on Saturday when someone complained about an Israeli flag being waved in support of Kangaroo’s rookie Harry Sheezel. 

Sheezel, who had 34 disposals on debut in a standout performance, is the first Jewish player to debut since 1999. 

But his brilliant performance, which earned him a Rising Star nomination, was overshadowed by the flag controversy. 

SEN reported that AFL security lead Alistair Meldrum sent an email to the person offended by the flag saying that the flag should not have been allowed under the stadium’s condition of entry. 

“Once identified, it should then have been requested to be seized/confiscated or the patron in possession requested to leave if they refused to surrender the flag,” he wrote

“This has been communicated to MSL Venue Management.” 

But after an uproar on social media, the AFL quickly moved to clarify that their security lead had been confused. 

On Wednesday the AFL released a statement saying they had no issue with the Israeli flag being flown. 

“An AFL match day is a place for everyone, we want fans to celebrate their clubs and players, and if that includes displaying national flags that amplify any of their team’s player heritage then the AFL is fully supportive. We should celebrate our players and the game any chance we get,” the statement read.

“For clarity, the AFL has no issue with the flag and signs supporting North Melbourne’s Harry Sheezel on the weekend. Correspondence sent to a patron that had an issue with the flag being displayed was an incorrect interpretation of our conditions of match day entry policy and we apologise for any confusion.” 


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  • By Avi Yemini

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