Spanish soccer team, FC Barcelona, has cancelled a friendly football match with Israel’s Beitar football club planned to be held on August 4.
FC Barcelona has earlier sparked controversy after arranging to play a preseason match against Israel’s Beitar Jerusalem.
Beitar Jerusalem is one of Israel’s top soccer clubs, and is well known for its racism against Arabs and Muslims.
Israel’s Beitar football club claimed that FC Barcelona didn’t cancel the match. However, it demanded not to play in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
A request cannot be fulfilled, the club’s owner, Moshe Hogg, said.
“It is with great sadness that I have to cancel the game against Barcelona,” he said.
“A game against Beitar Jerusalem must take place in Jerusalem,” he said. “I am not angry with Barcelona, they are not a political club and have no interest in taking part in our conflict here. Our relationship will continue to be good.”
The Palestinian Football Association has welcomed the move as a good news.
“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.
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.”
The cancelled match was set to take place in Jerusalem, a flashpoint in the region.
Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, which was supposed to host the match,
was built on the ruins of a Palestinian village called al-Malha after its residents were displaced.