The Israel Vs Argentina pre-World Cup international friendly match has been cancelled as political pressure mounts ahead of the game scheduled for Saturday in Jerusalem.
The match at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium was to be Argentina’s last before they kick off their World Cup campaign in Russia on June 16 against Iceland.
According to Daily Mail, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, to ask him to persuade the team not to cancel their visit.
The visit of Argentina has attracted huge interest among Israeli fans, mainly due to anticipation of Lionel Messi’s presence in Jerusalem.
Palestinian FA chairman Jibril Rajoub issued a statement reading: “We thank Argentina’s players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal.
“Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game.”
Rajoub called a news conference for Wednesday in Ramallah, which he will hold outside the Argentine representative’s office.
On Sunday, he called for Palestinians to burn replica shirts and pictures of Messi.
The stadium that was to host the match is in west Jerusalem. The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future state that will include the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The match was originally slated to be played in Haifa, but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, irking Palestinians further following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The US embassy was moved there last month.