Sport

Messi-led Argentina cancels friendly match with Israel after outcry

Messi-led Argentina cancels friendly match with Israel after outcry

The match, which was to be Argentina's final game before the start of their World Cup campaign in Russian Federation later this month, was set to be played at a stadium in West Jerusalem.

Rajoub went so far as to ask for fans to burn photos of Lionel Messi and Argentina shirts.

"This match would be similar to us celebrating. the occupation of Malvinas", he told Radio Coperativa on Tuesday, referring to the Falkland Islands.

Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain told the ESPN sports channel on Tuesday the game had been cancelled.

The stadium that was to host the match is in west Jerusalem.

"It will be important to prepare well, because in the qualifiers we were fighting up to the end and we didn't have time to prepare ourselves", he said.

On Sunday, Palestinian football boss Rajoub urged the Argentinean captain Messi, very popular in the Gaza Strip, not to play in the match, asking him and his team to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and to boycott the scheduled game with Israel.




A friendly football match between Argentina and Israel in Jerusalem has been cancelled, according to Argentine media, a PLO spokesperson and an Argentinian striker.

The cancellation of the game is being viewed as a major victory for BDS, which seeks equal rights for Palestinians.

Paper magazine have taken advantage of this and recruited Messi to pose alongside the literal form of the term; not your typical run-of-the-mill farmyard goat, but a rather majestic-looking beast that rivals Messi in the beard stakes.

Last week, MK Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, met with Argentina's ambassador to Israel and asked for the game to be cancelled.

Rajoub has long urged FIFA to expel Israel from the worldwide football federation, citing Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian soccer players and because Israel maintains teams in West Bank settlements. The US embassy was moved there last month. "The Israeli government is trying to give it political significance by insisting it be held in Jerusalem".

"[I want to } thank Messi, he and his team-mates made the right decision in favor of sport and against politicization", he said.

The cancellation means Argentina will head into the World Cup with hardly any pre-tournament match preparation.


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