Ramallah (Palestine): The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) postponed the Palestinian Football Cup final after Israel banned West Bank footballers from playing in Gaza.
The PFA said in a statement on Sunday that the match was scheduled to be played between West Bank city Hebron Sports and the Gaza-based Al-Shuja’eya, in Gaza, as reported by Chinese media.
“The association decided to annul the match after the Israeli authorities banned the football players in Hebron to cross from the West Bank to Gaza through Israel,” said the statement.
The PFA statement also said that the Israeli authorities refused to let the football team of the Gaza-based Al-Shuja’eya sports club to cross from Gaza to West Bank through Israel to play the final.
“The PFA has immediately addressed urgent letters of protest to the international football federation (FIFA) and its executive board, as well as to the European Union along with the Arab and Asian football unions,” the statement further said.
The statement added that the Israeli measures and practices on the ground urge the international sports community to bear its responsibility and help the Palestinian sports persons to get their legitimate rights. The statement reiterated, that PFA will follow up the case of banning the two teams from travelling “to unveil the haphazard measures against Palestinian sports”.
The teams were scheduled to play two matches; a first and second leg to decide the winner of the Palestinian Cup. It is the first time in so many years that the PFA has launched a race to the Palestinian Football Cup between Gaza and West Bank teams.
The Palestinians, mainly sports men and footballers, are complaining that Israel is imposing restrictions on their free movement. Israel always maintains that it bans the free movement of the Palestinians for security reasons.