The Israeli 1st Division Beitar Al-Quds announced on Thursday The friendly match against Barcelona has been cancelledWhich was scheduled to take place on the fourth of August. The match will not take place anymore after the Catalan club requested that the match be held outside the city of Jerusalem.
Beitar President Moshe Hogak conveyed the decision on his Facebook account. He explained in his testimony that Barcelona made a series of demands.
– With great sadness, I find myself obliged to cancel the match against Barcelona. I slept with a heavy heart and thought a lot and decided first and foremost that I am a proud Jew and an Israeli. I am not angry with Barcelona. “They’re a political club and they have no interest in getting into our struggle here,” says Hoggig, who says he refuses to bow to political impulses.
Moshe Haug, owner of Beitar al-Quds, with Sheikh Hamed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates – Photo: Transcript of Twitter
Planned as a pre-season commitment by Barcelona, the friendly was to take place at the Teddy Stadium, in the Malha neighborhood, in the western part of Jerusalem (an area under Israeli sovereignty). But the place is a sore point for many Palestinians, as it was a former Palestinian village until its residents were evacuated in 1948, the year the state of Israel was established.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion also commented on what happened and supported Betar’s decision. The club is notorious for episodes of racist shouting from its fans, although in recent years it has been trying to improve its image. In 2020, a member of the family that rules the emirate of Abu Dhabi bought a 50% stake in the club.
– It’s simple, the team that boycotts the capital of Israel will not come to the State of Israel. The mayor said the decision not to play here is not a professional, athletic or educational one.
Last week, both the president of the Palestinian Football Association and an Israeli parliamentarian of Palestinian origin demanded that the match be cancelled, due to the symbolic weight of playing in Jerusalem and the history of episodes of racism among Beitar fans.
Barcelona visited Israel in 2013 and met with children undergoing cancer treatment in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv. After that, the players trained with Israeli and Palestinian children at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.
Barcelona players, including Neymar, visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem – Photo: EFE