The newest instance of anti-Semitism in sports came in Spain, in the Barcelona suburb of Molins de Rei, where a second-round game of the European preliminaries of the 2019 FINA Women’s Water Polo World League had Israel playing Spain.
When the Israeli women arrived in Barcelona, they were informed that the town was refusing to hold the game due to pressure from a local pro-Palestinian activist group.
The Israeli government now applied its own pressure, demanding that the game be held and the safety of the athletes guaranteed. The head of Spain’s National Olympic Committee called to apologize and the mayor of Molins posted an apology on Twitter (whatever happened to a letter sent by courier?).
For its part, the international aquatics federation (FINA), pushed for a resolution and issued a statement which included:
FINA shall not allow any discrimination against National Federations or individuals (competitors, officials, judges, delegates, etc.) on the grounds of race, gender, religion, or political affiliations”;
Therefore, FINA strongly condemns the actions of any political organisation aiming at disturbing the normal organisation of a sport competition between two Water Polo national teams;
The competition has been directly organised by the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation and the City of Barcelona;
After FINA was alerted to the difficulties in staging this match as originally scheduled, everything possible was done to avoid having to alter the date of the game, on November 6, 2018. This was achieved with success.
In fact the game was played on the sixth, but three hours earlier than scheduled to avoid issues and in the High Performance pool of Sant Cugat, another town north of Barcelona. The attendance consisted of about 20 Israeli fans and a dozen other local spectators, as Spain defeated Israel, 11-5.