Sarsak spent almost three years as a political detainee after travelling to the West Bank with his club Balata Youth
Show Racism the Red Card was delighted to meet Palestinian International footballer Mahmoud Sarsak during his tour of the UK. Sarsak was accused of being an unlawful combatant linked to the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.
Sarsak was held without trial for three years and went on a three-month hunger strike in protest at his treatment.
It was pressure from activists lobbying government ministers, holding street demonstrations, gathering endorsements for letters and petitions from footballing organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card and FIFPRo (the international federation of professional footballers associations) and from high profile figures such as filmmaker Ken Loach and former football star Eric Cantona, that finally forced the sport's bosses in Europe and internationally, Michel Platini of UEFA and Sepp Blatter of FIFA, to call for his release.
It was then that the Israeli authorities conceded defeat and announced that Sarsak would be allowed to go home to Gaza on July 10.
During an appearance at Newcastle’s Civic Centre, Sarsak met with Show Racism the Red Card’s Olivier Bernard and discussed his desire to continue to use his passion for football to spread a message of strength and unity.
Everyone at Show Racism the Red Card would like to wish Mahmoud the best of luck with his future football and campaigning career.