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Palestinian refugees allegedly banned from AFC Cup match in Lebanon

In a video circulating online, a Palestinian says his community was barred from entering an AFC Cup game in Beirut
A general views shows empty seats at the Sports City Stadium in Beirut during Lebanon's AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 qualifier football match against Iran on 19 November 2013. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

A Palestinian man has said that he and other refugees were denied entry to a match in the national football stadium in Beirut on Tuesday night, a move he denounced as targeted racism.  

“Young men and women coming from Palestinian camps in Lebanon to watch the game were surprised by the decision to deny us access,” a Palestinian refugee said in a video posted on Facebook.

He said that while Jordanian Palestinians were allowed to watch the game between Jordan’s al-Wehdat and the Lebanese club Nejmeh, Palestinians that lived in Lebanon were stopped at the entrance of the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium.

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The decision to exclude Palestininas from Lebanon was made by the Lebanese Football Association without any explanation, the man in the video said.

Middle East Eye has reached out to the Lebanese FA for comment.

“What kind of heights of racism is this when we are prevented from entering a football pitch to watch a game? None of us knows the reason behind this, except that we are Palestinian refugees in Lebanon,” the man said.

Some 450,000 Palestinian refugees are registered with the United Nations in Lebanon, however a recent government-backed census said the number is much lower, standing at 174,000.

Palestinians in Lebanon are denied a number of basic human rights, including restricted access to public health care, social services and state education. They are also not allowed to practice 36 professions, including general medicine, engineering and law.

Al-Wehdat and Nejmeh were playing in the AFC Cup, an international club knockout competiton run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The visiting Jordanians beat Nejmeh 2-0.

The AFC has been approached for comment.