Barcelona Cancels Friendly Match in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, MINA – The owner of the Beitar Jerusalem football club, Israel said on Thursday that he had canceled a friendly match with Barcelona.

The decision to cancel the match came after the Palestinians refused to hold the match in Jerusalem on August 4.

Jerusalem is one of the cities that has remained at the center of conflict since Israel annexed the territory from Palestine. Until now, conflicts and territorial claims still occur in the area.

Beitar Jerusalem owner Moshe Hogeg, said he was forced to cancel the planned Aug. 4 game “with great sadness” because he refused to give in to what he said were “political” demands.

“After I received the contract to sign and found the firm demands that the game not take place in the capital Jerusalem, and some other demands that I didn’t like, I went to bed with a heavy heart, thought a lot and decided it. above all, I am a proud Jew and Israeli,” Hogeg wrote on Facebook. “I cannot betray Jerusalem.”

Earlier this July, the Palestinian Football Association sent a letter of protest to Barcelona over the planned match in Jerusalem.

Beitar Jerusalem is the only Israeli football club that has never signed an Arab player, and its rabid fans have a history of racism.

Hogeg, who bought the team in 2018, has vowed to fight racism and ignore the anti-Arab movement around the club.

Sami Abou Shehadeh, an Arab MP from the Balad Party in the Israeli Parliament, has also petitioned Barcelona to cancel the match, saying Beitar “represents the most extremist, racist and fascist segment of Israeli society.”

Palestinian football clubs have also written to Barcelona not to play in Jerusalem.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is said to have confirmed the cancellation of the pre-season test match.

This is not the first time this has happened. Argentina canceled a World Cup warm-up match with Israel in 2018 following pro-Palestinian protests. At that time, several Israeli officials accused Lionel Messi cs of being afraid of threats from terrorists. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)