[News] Israel To Ask FIFA to Ban Argentina From World Cup Over 'Religious Discrimination' After Canceled Match
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 7 15:29:47 EDT 2018
Israel To Ask FIFA to Ban Argentina From World Cup Over 'Religious
Discrimination' After Canceled Match
7 June 2018
The Football Federation of Israel and the company in charge of
organizing the now-canceled friendly match between Argentina and Israel
will demand FIFA expel the Argentine team from the 2018 World Cup in
Russia due to alleged “religious discrimination.”
*BDS Victory: Friendly Match Between Argentina, Israel Cancelled
The match was intended for Saturday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. local Israeli
time, but it was called off after an intense campaign from the BDS
movement. It would have been the last match before the team's official
participation in the World Cup.
Comtec Group, an Israeli production company that regularly organizes
sport-washing events in the occupied territories, announced Thursday
morning they will fly to Zurich and file a complaint hoping to get the
star Latin American team kicked out of the tournament, according to the
Argentine TyCSports, their organizing counterpart.
The company said they had already paid US$2 million to the Argentine
Football Association (AFA) and that the tickets for the match programmed
at the Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem sold out in just 20 minutes.
The Football Federation of Israel backed up Comtec Group's decision,
which echoes their previous accusations against the Palestinian Football
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a blatant sports
diplomacy move, unsuccessfully called Argentine President Mauricio Macri
to try and convince the national team to play the friendly match. Macri,
according to The Times of Israel, told Netanyahu he had no control over
In fact, it was AFA's President Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia who made the
decision. “The ones calling us ignorant are underestimating us because
this conflict has been going on for more than 70 years. What happened in
the last few hours led us to take this decision...” said Tapia in a
press conference after multiple protests against the match.
*Israel Blames BDS Movement for Cancellation of Argentina Match
“I hope you all can understand the decision I took as a contribution to
world peace. Football goes beyond religions, sexes... and has nothing to
do with violence...” he continued.
But some people didn't understand the message and interpreted the move
as an aggression instead of resistance.
“It’s unfortunate the soccer knights of Argentina did not withstand the
pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters, whose only goal is to harm our
basic right to self-defense and bring about the destruction of Israel,”
said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. “We will not yield
before a pack of anti-Semitic terrorist supporters.”
The turn of the events even fostered controversy within the occupation
authorities. The Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Mirian Regev, from
the conservative Likud party, is being accused by several Israeli
officials and football fans of politicizing the match by moving it from
Haifa to Jerusalem, a move that proved controversial given the recent
decision by the U.S. administration of Donald Trump to recognize the
city as Israel's capital, contradicting international agreements.
Palestinians see at least the eastern part of the city as the future
capital of their independent state.
Yitzhak Herzog, a Labor Party member of the Knesset and leader of the
opposition, called Regev's move “a spectacular own goal,” while Avi
Gabbay, head of the same party, called for an investigation on Regev
over corruption allegations.
Regev, on her part, accused the Knesset members of being “troy horses
Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian football association,
celebrated Argentina’s move at a press conference by reading a fan’s
sign that said: “From Palestine, thank you Messi.”
The Israeli embassy in Argentina regretted the decision to cancel the
match and blamed the “threats and provocations aimed at Lionel Messi,
which logically sparked solidarity among his partners and fear over the
match,” and suggested that this is what athletes in the Middle Eastern
country must endure in their everyday life.
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