Wembley Stadium arch will no longer be lit to show solidarity with countries and causes

Move comes after criticism for Football Association's decision not to light arch for Israel attacks

Wembley Stadium's arch lit in yellow and blue in solidarity with Ukraine after Russia's invasion in February 2022. PA
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The UK Football Association has said the Wembley Stadium arch will no longer be lit to show solidarity after terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other causes.

The decision comes after a row over the decision not to light it up after the Hamas attacks on Israel last month.

In future the London landmark, which can be seen for kilometres across the capital, will now be lit only in colours directly linked to the stadium's use as a sport and entertainment venue.

The decision means the FA will no longer have to deal with complex geopolitical issues and make difficult decisions on the arch's use.

In the past, the Wembley arch has adopted the colours of the flags of countries including France, Turkey and Ukraine within days of attacks.

But after the events in Israel and an outpouring of pro-Palestinian activism in England and among footballers, the FA decided against supporting Israel.

During a men's international last month between England and Australia at Wembley, the FA decided to hold a minute's silence to "remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine".

The move prompted the resignation of the chairman of the FA's Faith in Football network, Rabbi Alex Goldberg.

"I recognise that our decision caused hurt to the Jewish community who felt that we should have lit the arch and that we should have shown stronger support for them," FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said.

"This was one of the hardest decisions we've had to make, and the last thing we ever wanted to do in this situation was to add to the hurt.

"We aren't asking for everyone to agree with our decision but to understand how we reached it."

Updated: November 22, 2023, 11:50 PM