Did Italy’s goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon shout “free Palestine” at match with Israel? Not likely.
The Italian goalkeeper in action (AFP/File)
Arabic media sources were today buzzing with rumours of a stand for Palestine in international football.
According to reports from numerous Arabic sources, Gianluigi Buffon of Italy’s national team shouted “Free Palestine” towards fans during a match with Israel on Monday. Agencies claimed that Buffon was facing a potential fine, and cited Italian paper Gazzetta Dello Sport as the source for the claims.
The reports earned Buffon applause from many in the Middle East, who believed the international player could be taking a hit for his support of the Palestinian cause. The claims were leant apparently credibility by Buffon’s displays of solidarity with Gaza after the 2014 war with Israel.
بوفون أصلاً حارس لا تملك إلا أن تحبه فما بالك وهو كان يهتف بعد كل هدف لإيطاليا في مرمى الكيان الصهيوني فلسطين حرة pic.twitter.com/asXHkw4Ccp— أيمن جاده (@aymanjada) 6 September 2016
Buffon is a very respectful person and goalkeeper, and he was cheering after every goal for Italy against the Zionist entity free Palestine.
بوفون قد يتعرض لعقوبة من الفيفا، لأنه بعد هدف إيطاليا هَتف لجمهور الكيان الصهيوني : فلسطين حرة .. pic.twitter.com/Bg52VuGOrx— Profile (@ProfileFanX) 7 September 2016
Buffon might be penalized for cheering “Free Palestine” after Italy’s goal.
But is the story true?
It’s perhaps unlikely. After the story gained traction, news verification website Saheh Akhbarak ran the rumor through its debunking tests, and came the the conclusion it was not what it seemed. No international, Israeli or Italian outlets carried information about the supposed penalty for Buffon, it reported, and other news agencies wrote that Buffon presented his shirt to an Israeli player and took photographs with Israeli fans.
Some news viewers in the Middle East weren’t surprised by the debunk.
صباحو .. حد شاف اي تقرير من مصدر إيطالي موصوف فيع على حوار بوفون + فلسطين؟— عمرو نصوحي (@Nsoo7y) 7 September 2016
حاسس انه مزايدة واي كلام كعادتنا
Have you guys seen any reports about this, I feel it is just a big lie and we are exaggerating as usual.
It’s not the first time celebrities have been rumored to make a stand for Palestine while actually doing nothing of the sort. When Rihanna performed in Tel Aviv in 2013, it was reported that she’d changed the lyrics of her hit “pour it up” to give it a pro-Palestine twist. The claim was later debunked.