CAMPAIGNERS are set to hold an eye-catching demonstration against the Scottish Football Association’s (SFA)  “desperate attempt to sportswash Israel” after allowing a Euro 2025 qualifying fixture to go ahead at Hampden Park.

The Scotland Women’s team will host Israel on Friday night behind closed doors despite major calls for the match to be called off completely against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

The return fixture in Group B2 will also be played behind closed doors at a neutral venue in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday.

Pro-Palestine campaigners from organisations such as Show Israel the Red Card – which the SFA is a member of  –  will hold up a banner outside the stadium ahead of the game that will read “36,000 dead Palestinians would fill more than two-thirds of Hampden Park. Don’t silence the fans.”

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In reference to fans being banned from attending the game and unable to speak out, everyone holding the banner will have masking tapes over their mouths. The background of the banner will have a faded Palestinian flag.

In front of the group there will be tiny coffins and an oversized Palestinian flag.

A public demonstration is also planned at 6pm outside Hampden Park. 

Campaigners have said the move to hold the game behind closed doors is a “shameful attempt to gag fans” and “avoid confronting the reality of the horrors of war being waged on Palestinians”.

Maree Shepherd of Show Israel the Red Card, a campaign calling on Israel to be suspended from UEFA and FIFA , said: “By allowing the match to go ahead, the SFA has chosen not to hold Israel to account for its war crimes and to effectively side with genocide.

Even after months of carpet-bombing Gaza and denying starving Palestinians access to food and water and as Israeli tanks advance into Rafah where around 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering, the SFA sees no problem with Israel competing.

“Instead, it has chosen to go even further in its quest to protect Israel from criticism by playing the game behind closed doors, penalising both players and spectators. The double standards could not be starker when you consider that following its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has not been allowed to compete and remains barred from all football federations.”

In accordance with FIFA’s human rights policy, the Palestine Football Association (PFA) has urged football bodies to suspend Israel. In its latest report, the PFA found that 85 Palestinian athletes have been killed so far between October 7 and December 6.

The National: Hampden Park Image: Hampden Park

As many as 55 of those killed were football players, 18 of whom were children and 37 of whom were youths. Two of the footballers killed were in the occupied West Bank.

Fifa, which governs world football, is currently taking legal advice on a motion submitted by the PFA to suspend Israel from the sport.

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Gerry Coutts of Scottish Friends of Palestine said the SFA has made it “clear” it “stands on the side of genocide”.

He highlighted how the SFA continuing to stage the game has left Scottish football players in a “very difficult position”.

He said: "For Uefa, Fifa and SFA, it’s business as usual. Israel will continue to enjoy a special status for whom rules are adapted to effectively normalise its crimes.

“What is also a real shame is the impact the game will have on young Scottish football players who have trained hard for the tournament and been left in a very difficult position.

“Days ahead of the game, it is understood that three Scottish players dropped out of the game, with no reason cited.

“I can imagine how hard it will be for these young women to compete in this fixture knowing they are playing Israel, an occupying force under investigation by world courts for some of the most horrific human rights violations in history.

“No one should be forced to help normalise an illegal occupation guilty of war crimes in return for being allowed to do their jobs.”

The SFA has been approached for comment.