Messi in middle of Israel-Palestinian spat over scrapped match

first_imgLATEST STORIES View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Israel considers Jerusalem its “indivisible” capital.Ahead of the game Rajoub had urged Messi not to take part and called on fans to burn shirts bearing his name if he did.Speaking on Wednesday, he thanked the Argentinians for the cancellation, saying he hopes they will win the World Cup.“I think what happened yesterday is a red card from everybody to the Israelis to (get them to) understand that they (only) have a right to organize or play football within their internationally recognised borders,” he said in English, pointing out the final status of Jerusalem is supposed to be the subject of negotiations between the parties.Rajoub laughed off Israeli threats of action, denying there was any intimidation.“The Argentinian Football Association canceled the agreement it signed with the Israelis because it reached the conclusion that this match is a political one.”Israeli media said that late Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentine President Mauricio Macri, with whom he has good relations, in an effort to save the match but that Macri had said he was unable to intervene.Netanyahu is currently visiting Europe and his office could not immediately confirm the reports.Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom, considered close to Netanyahu, expressed ire at Argentina with its front-page headline: “They surrendered to terrorism: The game against Argentina has been canceled.” Argentina players ‘not willing’ The Palestinians rejected the allegation, saying the Argentinians pulled out of the match as they realized Israel was using their presence for political gain.The encounter was called off on Tuesday after a campaign by the Palestinians following its relocation to Jerusalem.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“We are confronting a football terror from the Palestinian Football Association and its president (Jibril Rajoub),” said Rotem Kamer of the Israel Football Association.He accused them of threatening players and their families, without providing any evidence. “From a sporting point of view, I would have preferred to play in Barcelona,” Sampaoli said.Messi is looking to inspire Argentina to victory at the World Cup, having lost in the final four years ago.Israel has not qualified for the tournament.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina “We are seeing it as crossing a red line and we cannot accept it,” Kamer said, adding an official complaint would be sent to world football’s governing body FIFA.The sold-out game in Jerusalem was hotly opposed by Palestinians, who claim the eastern part of the city, occupied and later annexed by Israel, as the capital of their future state.It had originally been scheduled to take place the northern Israeli city of Haifa but was moved after pressure from Israel’s hardline sports minister, Miri Regev.Palestinians were already angered by US President Donald Trump’s transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, which sparked protests in Gaza in which dozens of Palestinians were killed.‘Red card’ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said before confirmation of the game’s cancellation that he believed his country’s players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the match.“As far as I know, the players of the national team were not willing to play the game,” Faurie said.The Argentina squad practiced on Wednesday morning at FC Barcelona’s training ground, just a few hours after the friendly match was called off.“Argentina is seven days from the World Cup. We want to focus on what is really important and which is before us,” a spokesman for the country’s football federation told AFP in Barcelona, where the national team has been training ahead of the start of the tournament in Russia on June 14.The status of Jerusalem, always a key sticking point in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, surged back to center-stage when Trump tore up decades of US policy to recognize it as Israel’s capital in December.The United States shifted its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem in May on the 70th anniversary of the creation of Israel, in a move met with condemnation from the Palestinians and many of Washington’s international allies.At the same time, Israel has faced fierce criticism over its use of lethal force against Palestinian protesters on the Gaza Strip border with the Jewish state.Israeli troops have killed at least 125 Gazans since March 30, during protests and clashes along the border over the return of Palestinians to land they fled or were expelled from during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.The press in Argentina and Israel reported that the Argentine Football Association was supposed to receive a payment of between two and three million dollars if Messi played.Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli last week aired misgivings about having his players make the trip to Israel, noting he preferred to remain in Barcelona. One more win: Durant lifts Warriors past Cavs for a 3-0 lead in NBA Finals Argentina’s forward Lionel Messi attends a training session at the FC Barcelona ‘Joan Gamper’ sports center in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on June 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAThe Israeli and Palestinian football associations traded accusations Wednesday over the cancellation of a World Cup warm-up match between the Jewish state and Argentina in the disputed city of Jerusalem.Israel accused the Palestinians of “football terror”, saying their threats saw Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and his team abandon what would have been Argentina’s final friendly match ahead of the World Cup.ADVERTISEMENT Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operationslast_img

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