Israel to file FIFA complaint against Palestinians over Argentina game

A picture taken on June 5, 2018, shows a poster erected on a main street in the West Bank town of Hebron, denouncing the upcoming friendly football match between Argentina and Israel and calling Argentina's star Lionel Messi (portrait) to boycott the match. Photo: AFP

The Israel Football Association announced Wednesday it will file a complaint to FIFA accusing its Palestinian counterpart of pressuring Argentinian players and staff into cancelling a friendly match.

A picture taken on June 5, 2018, shows a poster erected on a main street in the West Bank town of Hebron, denouncing the upcoming friendly football match between Argentina and Israel and calling Argentina’s star Lionel Messi (portrait) to boycott the match. Photo: AFP

Rotem Kamer, vice-president of the Israeli FA, accused the Palestinian side of “football terror” after its leader called for protests against Argentina in the build-up to the game that had been scheduled for Saturday.

“We are confronting a football terror from the Palestinian Football Association and its president (Jibril Rajoub),” he said, accusing them of “threatening football players (against) coming to Israel.”

He also alleged the families of players were threatened, without providing any evidence.

“We are seeing it as crossing a red line and we cannot accept it.”

“We are going to send an official complaint to (world football’s governing body) FIFA and the disciplinary committee to take action.”

The game, which was due to take place in the disputed city of Jerusalem, was cancelled Tuesday after a campaign led by the Palestinian Football Association.

Rajoub had urged Argentina’s star player Lionel Messi not to take part and called on fans to burn shirts bearing his name if he did.

Earlier Wednesday Rajoub laughed off Israeli threats, denying there was any intimidation.

“The Argentinian Football Association cancelled the agreement it signed with the Israelis because it reached the conclusion that this match is a political one.”

Culled: AFP/Punch

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