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LEICESTER CITY’S act of solidarity with the people of Palestine following the club’s first ever FA Cup final was praised on Saturday.
During the celebrations the Foxes’ Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana wrapped themselves in a Palestinian flag before the club’s Thai owner, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, lifted the cup to raucous celebrations.
It was an emotional moment for the the team who all wore photos of Srivaddhanaprabha’s father Vichai, the club’s previous owner who died in 2018 when his helicopter crashed in flames next to Filbert Way.
Also in tribute to Vichai was a banner covering seats in the closed third tier at Wembley, with his quote: “Our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
In a letter addressed to Choudhury and Fofana, Palestine’s British ambassador Dr Husam Zomlot thanked the players for bringing attention to his besieged nation during the club’s moment of FA Cup triumph.
“Allow me, on behalf of the Palestinian government and people, to extend our profoundest gratitude ... to show solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people,” Dr Zomlot said.
“Carrying the Palestinian flag on the stage of one of football’s most august cup competitions is a show of support that is reverberating all over Palestine.
“For a people beleaguered, occupied and under intense bombardment for daring to stand up for their rights, your gesture could not be more timely and appreciated.
“Nelson Mandela once said that no-one is free until Palestine is free. With your show if support we hope that today is one step closer.
“Congratulations on your cup win. And together, one day, we hope Leicester [City] Football Club will play in Jerusalem, the capital of the free state of Palestine.”
It was Youri Tielemans’s thunderbolt strike that sealed a gritty 1-0 win over Chelsea at Wembley.
The Belgian midfielder rifled an unstoppable effort into the top corner from 25 yards, as Brendan Rodgers’s Foxes put another genuine stamp on years of recent quality.
“I’ve dreamed of this since I was a child,” Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel said. “The performance today — the grit and determination — I’m so proud of everyone."
The season is far from over. Leicester still have another match against Chelsea on Tuesday, one that could clinch Champions League qualification for the second time ever. Sitting third, Leicester holds a two-point lead over Chelsea.
“Today we enjoy, and tomorrow we dust ourselves down and can’t really think about this anymore,” Schmeichel said. “Chelsea are a top-class side and are going to want revenge.”
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