Argentina Cancels World Cup Warm-up Match in Israel
Palestine’s soccer federation had called for a boycott of the match in east Jerusalem.
Argentina has cancelled its World Cup warm-up match against Israel, after Palestinian Football Federation chief Jibril Rajoub asked Arab and Muslim fans to boycott the match and burn photos and T-shirts of its star player, Lionel Messi. Threats were also made against the Argentinian team as they trained at a facility in Barcelona, Spain, ESPN reports.
The controversial match was set to take place in the neighborhood of Malha, a part of east Jerusalem Israel captured in 1967 and that Palestinians still seek as the capital of a future state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentine President Mauricio Macri and urged him to reverse the decision, but that doesn’t look likely to happen before Saturday, when the match was set to take place.
“I think it’s a good thing that the match between Argentina and Israel was suspended,” Argentina soccer federation vice president Hugo Moyano told ESPN Radio 10. “The right thing was done, it’s not worth it. The stuff that happens in those places, where they kill so many people, as a human being you can’t accept that in any way. The players’ families were suffering due to the threats.”
The match was supposed to be Argentina’s final ‘friendly’ before the team travels to Russia for the World Cup. Argentina will begin the tournament in Group D against Iceland on June 16.
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