Swedes Want Out of Soccer Match with Israel

Published: June 2nd 2010
in News » World

Israel Football Association

The effects of Monday’s flotilla raid have extended into other realms, including the realm of sports.


Israel’s under-21 soccer team’s journey to the European Championships could be affected by those in the league whose political views override the spirit of sportsmanship.


The Swedish Football Association (SFA) announced Tuesday that it will appeal to the European soccer governing body, UEFA, in an attempt to cancel Sweden's U-21 game in Israel this week, Haaretz reported.


Israel and Sweden are due to meet in a decisive match on Friday, which is to be the qualifying round for the 2011 European Championships.


The Swedish team is currently training in Cyprus, and has expressed hesitation about playing in Israel after receiving news about Monday’s raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla.


The SFA cited "the events and the harsh responses to those events in Sweden and around the world" as their reasoning.


"It's not pleasant to play in Israel at this juncture," said SFA President Lars-Ake Lagrell. "But we will not boycott the game [if UEFA instructs us to play] because this is liable to result in harsh sanctions in the long term. Despite this, we would be happy not to play in Israel."


Swedish press reported that the flotilla under contention included 11 Swedish citizens.


In the same vein, on Monday the Turkish U-19 soccer team canceled a scheduled game against Israel after receiving stern instructions from the Turkish government to return to the country.


"The Israel Football Association is saddened by the mixture of politics and sports," the IFA stated in a response to Turkey's cancellation. "It was possible, and necessary, to hold the game as scheduled."


If the game against Sweden goes ahead as planned, it will be played on Friday at 5 P.M. at the Nes Tziona Stadium.

Related articles: (Israel Football Association, Swedish Football Association, Flotilla, Soccer)
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