Protester ties himself to Hampden goalpost to delay Scotland-Israel football match

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A demonstrator chained himself to a goalpost at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, while pro-Palestinian protests took place outside when a women’s football match between Scotland and Israel was about to kick off.

The Euro 2025 qualifier was being played behind closed doors after intelligence emerged of planned disruptions in protest at Israel’s offensive on Gaza, which was launched shortly after Hamas militants mounted a deadly raid on Israel on 7 October.

But an estimated 150 people gathered outside the stadium with Palestinian flags, calling for an immediate ceasefire and holding small replica coffins.

Protesters at Hampden Park wore Palestinian flag colours (Reuters)
Protesters at Hampden Park wore Palestinian flag colours (Reuters)

A handful of counter-protesters also staged a demonstration.

Just before the scheduled kick-off time of 7.05pm, officials discovered that a man had breached security in the arena and locked himself to a goalpost.

The protester, who was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Red Card For Israel”, was eventually removed by authorities before the players emerged for a second warm-up and the game started at 7.36pm, half an hour late.

Campaigners and charities, including Show Israel the Red Card and Scottish Friends of Palestine, had organised the protest.

They also hit out at the Scottish Football Association’s decision to allow the game to go ahead, describing it as an attempt to “sportwash” Israel.

Police intervened (PA Wire)
Police intervened (PA Wire)

Scottish football chiefs ordered two weeks ago that the qualifier be played behind closed doors because of safety concerns about protests. Ticket-holders were promised refunds.

Shelling and gunfire in the city of Rafah has been intense, and Palestinian medics said on Thursday that at least 12 people had been killed in a dawn air strike.

Israel’s military forces, which are in central Rafah after launching their ground invasion earlier this month, said they had uncovered Hamas rocket launchers and tunnels and dismantled a weapons storage city of the group.

The SFA said previously: “Due to updated intelligence and following extensive security consultations with all key parties, the Scottish FA regrets to confirm that the forthcoming qualifier between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park on May 31 will now be played behind closed doors.

“The stadium operations team were alerted to the potential for planned disruptions to the match, and as a consequence we have no option but to play the match without supporters in attendance.”

The Palestinian Football Association wants Israel to be suspended from international football because of the conflict with Hamas.