The Chilean football federation recently banned a top tier team from using a jersey that featured the map of historic Palestine in exchange for the number one. But the team has struck back with an updated kit design that prominently features the map on the front and center of the jersey.
Club Deportivo Palestino, one of Chile’s oldest club teams, unveiled new kits in December. After playing just three matches, complaints from pro-Israel communities pressured the National Association of Professional Football of Chile to ban the club’s jerseys and fine CD Palestino an equivalent of $1,300.
But the Santiago-based team, founded by Palestinian immigrants in 1920, has chosen not to shy away from the club’s heritage. Despite loose allegations that the team was mixing the sport “with politics and religion,” the team unveiled a new jersey design that moved the map to the front of the shirt. Miniature maps of Palestine are also inset into the bottom of the numbers on the back of the jersey, right above Bank of Palestine’s sponsor spot.
CD Palestino revealed the shirt in a photograph on its Facebook page.
The new jerseys were used in a match against Universidad de Concepcion on January 24, which CD Palestino won 1-0.
Pro-Israel organizations are enraged by the move. However, it is unlikely CD Palestino will face another fine. As part of the initial jersey ban, Chile’s football federation instructed CD Palestino not to exchange any of the numbers with any symbols or maps. The new jersey designs comply with this rule.
Critics of CD Palestino’s latest shirt designs have also turned their attention to the club’s jersey sales. According to Maximiliano Grass, director of the Zionist Federation of Chile, CD Palestino has taken advantage of the media attention and sold over 7,000 of the banned jerseys to customers and fans around the world.
CD Palestino has expressed support for Palestinians on a number of occasions, including during matches, and continues to build ties with Chile’s large population of Palestinian immigrants.