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Home Uncategorized Israeli teams must play UEFA Cup games abroad

Israeli teams must play UEFA Cup games abroad

Published on July 31, 2006 by in Uncategorized

Ori Lewis

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will not be allowed to host UEFA Cup second qualifying round first-leg matches which must instead be staged in a neutral country due to the security situation in the region, UEFA said on Monday.

Israel launched an onslaught on Lebanon after Shi’ite guerrilla group Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border raid on July 12. Hizbollah has since fired more than 1,600 rockets into Israel.

Hapoel Tel Aviv are due to play their home tie against NK Domzale of Slovenia on Aug. 8 while Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv are scheduled to host Bulgaria’s Lokomotiv Sofia on Aug. 10.

Israeli FA chairman Iche Menahem reacted angrily to the news and said the IFA would “respond severely and will not let the decision pass unchallenged”.

Menahem’s deputy, Avi Luzon, later told Israel’s Channel 5 television that frantic phone conversations had taken place with UEFA officials on Monday night to try to change the decision and there was still some hope for the Israeli clubs.


Luzon said UEFA had agreed to receive a request from Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda to play the first legs of next week’s ties at their opponents’s grounds so there was more time to review the situation. There was no confirmation from UEFA.

“They (UEFA) have given us permission to ask (to switch home and away venues),” Luzon said. “We want to get to a situation where both Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda are in the same situation as Maccabi Haifa and Beitar Jerusalem,” Luzon said.

UEFA said it would make a decision next Monday on Maccabis Champions League third qualifying round home leg with Liverpool set for Aug. 22 or 23 and Beitar’s UEFA Cup second qualifying round clash with Dinamo Bucharest scheduled for Aug. 24.

Menahem called on UEFA officials to come to Israel to review the situation and see that it is safe to stage matches but Luzon said the governing body’s officials would not be visiting the country.


Last week UEFA’s Emergency Panel asked the IFA to provide added safety assurances for clubs due to visit the country in light of the conflict in Lebanon and the firing of rockets into the north of the country.

At least 598 people have been killed in Lebanon, although the health minister puts the toll at 750 including bodies still buried under rubble. Fifty-one Israelis have been killed.

On Sunday, Israeli Sports Minister Ofir Pines-Paz wrote to UEFA saying the Jewish state “is committed to provide all necessary security to visiting national teams, clubs and officials”.

International soccer returned to Israel in April 2004 after a 25-month ban due to the worsening security situation in the country. Matches can only be played in the Tel Aviv area.

Between March 2002 and April 2004 Israeli clubs and teams were forced to host their opponents at a number of European venues including Cyprus, Turkey, Italy and Bulgaria.

UEFA said on Monday it had asked the IFA to submit back-up plans for when teams involved in European games are required to play matches outside the country.

The IFA was also asked by the governing body to submit written guarantees from any potential host association and the public authorities involved as soon as possible.

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14 Comments  comments 

14 Responses

  1. Ehsan

    Israeli teams should simply be banned from all international competitions in all sports.

    Like the white South Africans during the apartheid era, the racist Israeli criminals have to go and play with themselves.

  2. ali

    I am wondering if US can veto the UEFA decision.

  3. kia

    When it came to Iran we all said politics and sports should be kept seperate! The same now goes for Israel. No banning of any sports team for non sports-related reasons please!

    That said, I’m wondering how IFA will “respond severely”? Are they going to bomb UEFA headquarters until they change their decision?!!!

  4. Kia jun, This is not politics, it is security and safety. There is a war going on over there. If I was playing for a European club, I would not want to risk getting in the middle of that mess.

    I think UEFA is doing the right thing. They are responsible for players’ safety.

  5. kia

    Afshin jAn, I was refereing to Ehsan’s comment in regards to banning them from all international competiions in all sports!!! Otherwise, no question that UEFA is doing the right thing! Who would want to play in Israel or anywhere close to that region at this time. Neutral country games are the way to go!

  6. rabeah

    I don’t think it is possible to separate football and politics, it’s the very nature of the way the game is played. National teams in international games. Cultural nuances in each teams’ style. The politics of all these nations are an intrinsic part of the game and they have been from its insception. If you want politics out of sports then you have to get rid of nationalism and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  7. rabeah

    Phoebe wanted me to tell you all that she is a citizen of the world. :)

  8. Navid

    There’s nothing wrong with nationalism as long as the “weed of extremism” doesn’t grow.
    With it,there’ll be no cultural advancements or fruits,no peace!
    The weed must go!
    And we should not act like trees!

  9. rabeah

    I agree with your sentiments Navid but nationalism breeds extremism. It’s one of its unfortunate side effects.

  10. Navid

    Come on Rabeah jAn
    You know what i’m talking about..Every nation have these weeds in their society..It has a totally diferent “ROOT” than nationalism.it might have a little similarities from outside looking but deep inside they’re different.
    Live and let live!

  11. rabeah


    I don’t think of human beings as weeds. And extremism doesn’t sprout, it is learned and endoctrined. The two most common lures that are used are national identity and religious identity. Facism and Nazism had roots in nationalism. And we all know what religion can provoke. There’s nothing wrong with being a nationalist. It has many benefits but I believe its important to not ignore its dark side.

    Now, let’s pick on Koobie. :)

  12. Maria

    Poor Koobie, always being picked on. :D

  13. Navid

    That was just an example..lol..i didn’t mean “weed” weed..what i mean is that the charachteristics of the two have absoulutely nothing in common but loving ones country and culture.i guess the teacher and the gardener have everything to do with it.
    i don’t know where’s koobie though.He’s not getting us “tahvil”ed!
    Maybe he’s still practicing his skills!
    Koobie doobie doo,dooroodo dodo
    Koobie doobie doo……

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