Israel grants youth Arab football teams entry to Palestine

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Israeli authorities bowed to pressures from the Union of European Football Associations UEFA and allowed border access to participants in the 4th West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) championship to be held in Palestine, AFP reported.

Israel, which has control over the Palestinian border, had initially refused to grant entry to Arab youth teams and officials from Jordan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates.

The intervention of Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, WAFF’s president and FIFA’s vice president was behind the change of mind.

"WAFF President (Jordan's) Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein and FIFA's vice-president intervened with UEFA to settle this issue," WAFF secretary-general Fadi Zureikat told AFP on Friday.

“The delegations prepared to head for the West Bank via the King Hussein crossing. WAFF will hold a meeting this evening to decide the official program, following the delay," he added.

The WAFF championship is the first ever international football championship to be held in Palestine.

Palestinian sports supremo Jibril Rajoub has threatened to call for Israel’s expulsion from world soccer’s governing body as a reaction to denying them from entry to the West Bank.

“At the next FIFA Congress, the Palestinian FA is planning to ask for Israel's expulsion in response to its violations against Palestinian sport,” Rajoub told Reuters on Thursday.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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