Video of Man City manager misrepresented as protest of Israel

Posts on X and other platforms are claiming a video shows Manchester City football manager Pep Guardiola ignoring an Israeli official after a match in protest of the country's war with Hamas. This is false; the clip is from August 2023, and the man in the stands is former Crystal Palace manager Alan Smith.

"The famous Spanish coach Pep Guardiola refused to shake hands with the Israeli representative," says a May 27, 2024 post from "Lord Bebo," an X account AFP has repeatedly fact-checked for amplifying disinformation.

The video shows Guardiola looking away from and brushing past one man -- whom the posts have circled and labeled with an Israeli flag -- as the Manchester City manager and his club's players shake hands with people before receiving medals at London's Wembley Stadium.

Screenshot from X taken May 28, 2024

Similar posts claiming cameras captured Guardiola taking a stance against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip spread in multiple languages across X and other platforms, including Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.

The posts followed Manchester City's shock 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup final May 25, a day before the club celebrated its fourth consecutive Premier League title with a parade.

"Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola failed to shake hands with Israeli representatives after City FA Cup defeat to Manchester United," one Facebook post sharing the clip says.

But the video is not from the FA Cup final -- nor is it related to the Israel-Hamas war.

Reverse image and keyword searches revealed the footage was captured after the August 6, 2023 FA Community Shield football match (archived here). Guardiola's side faced off against Arsenal and lost on penalties.

Articles and social media users identified the man Guardiola appeared to snub as Alan Smith, a former manager for Crystal Palace (archived here, here and here).

In replies to an X user who asked about the moment, Smith said at the time that he was "not sure" whether the Manchester City manager intentionally avoided him but thought he meant "no offence" (archived here and here). 

"Think he thought I was Arsenal???" Smith joked August 7, 2023.

In another post, Smith suggested Guardiola may have associated him with English football's governing body and was "not happy with injury time and new rules" (archived here).

Photos of Smith make clear he is the man shown in the video.

Screenshot from X taken May 29, 2024

As the clip was misrepresented on social media in 2024, Smith responded with laughing emojis to several Crystal Palace fans posting about it. He said in one post that it happened "last season" and quipped in another about his "mistaken identity" (archived here, here, and here).

Smith also attended the May 25, 2024 FA Cup final -- after which Guardiola appeared to shake his hand, game footage shows (archived here).

AFP contacted Manchester City for comment, but no response was forthcoming.

Guardiola is the latest celebrity targeted by misinformation about Israel's war with Hamas. For example, AFP previously debunked claims that a video showed actor Robert De Niro confronting pro-Palestinian protesters when it actually depicted him rehearsing a scene on a film set.

AFP has fact-checked other misinformation about the conflict here.

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