The Palestinian Football Association has welcomed the scrapping of a football match between Spanish giants FC Barcelona and Israel’s Beitar football team, which was scheduled to take place on August 4 in Jerusalem, reports Anadolu Agency.
“We express our appreciation for the respect of the Catalan club [FC Barcelona] to the feelings of millions of its fans worldwide who were appalled by the idea that the club which appreciates human rights will play with one of the most racist clubs in the world,” the association said in a statement.
A friendly match between FC Barcelona and Beitar Jerusalem has been “cancelled” after the Spanish club reportedly refused to play in Israel pic.twitter.com/KiEb22h5y0
— TRT World (@trtworld) July 16, 2021
Jibril Rajoub, the Secretary-General of Fatah group’s Central Committee and head of the Palestinian Football Association, described the move by FC Barcelona to cancel the match as “an honest expression of Barcelona’s true identity and its respect to millions of its fans worldwide.”
On Thursday, Israel’s Beitar football club canceled a match with FC Barcelona over the latter’s refusal to play in the occupied city of Jerusalem. The club’s owner, Moshe Hogg, said FC Barcelona refused to play in Jerusalem and therefore he decided to cancel the match.
Palestinians have called on Barcelona to cancel its game, especially as it was scheduled to take place in Jerusalem and against a team that is known for its anti-Palestinian racist chants. Beitar Jerusalem is the only Israeli team that has never signed an Arab player to its squad.
The “friendly” match between @FCBarcelona and racist Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem, known for its fans’ chants of “death to Arabs”, has been canceled.
— PACBI (@PACBI) July 15, 2021
Earlier in July, the Palestinian Football Association sent a letter of protest to Barcelona over the planned game in Jerusalem. More Palestinian voices joined in.
“Sami Abou Shehadeh, a Balad party lawmaker in the Israeli parliament, had also petitioned Barcelona to cancel the game,” the Associated Press reported.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 16, 2021
The Israeli club “represents the most extremist, racist and fascist segments of Israeli society,” Shehadeh wrote.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)