Ireland’s U17 women’s football team didn’t turn away during Israeli national anthem

27 February 2024
What was claimed

The Irish women’s football team turned their backs while the Israeli anthem was played.

Our verdict

This isn’t correct. A video clip circulating on social media has been edited. Ireland’s Under-17 team turned to face their country’s flag during the playing of the Irish national anthem, as is tradition.

A video supposedly showing the Irish women’s Under-17 football team turning their backs during the playing of the Israeli national anthem has been edited.

In the clip, which is circulating on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter) and TikTok, the Irish team face the opposite direction to the Israeli team, while Israel’s anthem ‘Hatikvah’ plays. 

Many posts feature the caption: “The Irish girls did it again. This time, it’s the women’s team. They turned their backs when the Israeli anthem was playing.”

Many of the videos feature the watermark of Al Jazeera Sport’s TikTok account, which made the same claim in Arabic, in a video with over 600,000 views.

The two teams faced each other in a qualifying match on 23 February for this year’s European Championships at the Arena Kombëtare in Albania. 

However, the video has been edited, and the claim that the Irish team turned their backs during their opponent's anthem is not true.

A longer clip from the match shows both teams facing in the same direction while Israel’s anthem is played. The version of the anthem played in the real footage is also different to the one in the clip being shared on social media.

In the full video, after the Israeli anthem finishes, the Irish team turns around before the anthem of the Republic of Ireland—Amhrán na bhFiann—starts to play.

The Football Association of Ireland released a statement after the match confirming that the team had turned to face their own country’s flag.

“The Football Association of Ireland would like to correct a misinterpretation that our Ireland Women's Under 17 team turned their back during the opposition's national anthem ahead of their UEFA Women's Under-17 European Championship fixture with Israel in Tirana today,” a spokesperson said.

“Both teams were facing in the same direction during the Israeli national anthem before the Ireland team turned to face the tricolour, as is tradition amongst many Irish teams, for the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann before turning back to conclude the usual pre-match protocols.”

Full Fact has seen many examples of online misinformation relating to the conflict in Israel and Gaza, including miscaptioned videos and incorrect subtitles. You can read more in our guides on identifying misleading images and videos.   

We’ve contacted Al Jazeera Sport regarding the claim in the video and will update this piece if we get a response.

Image courtesy of Tom Raftery

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.