Cancellation of Israel friendly due to security reasons - AFA president

Argentinian football fans. (Getty)

Argentinian football fans. (Getty)

Argentina’s Football Association chief Claudio Tapia said on Wednesday he had made the decision to cancel the friendly match against Israel due to security concerns.

The match against Israel had drawn criticism with the head of the Palestinian Football Association urging fans last weekend to burn pictures of Argentina striker Lionel Messi and replicas of his shirt if he played in the game.

“The actions, the threats, that have taken place, have led us to decide not to travel. My responsibility as president of AFA is to look after the health and physical integrity and safety of the entire delegation and in my role I made this decision,” Tapia said in a news conference in Barcelona.

Palestinian FA chief Jibril Rajoub wrote to Claudio Tapia, the head of the Argentinian FA, last week accusing Israel of using the match as a “political tool” and the cancellation on Wednesday was hailed by Palestinians as a victory.

The match in Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina’s final game before they kick off their World Cup campaign in Russia on June 16.

However, the status of the city generally is highly-sensitive. The match was originally slated to be played in Haifa but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, irking Palestinians further following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
— Reuters

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