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Palestinians Refuse to Play in FC Barcelona Friendly

PA soccer officials say their players won’t team up with Israelis in match meant to promote peace

By: David Shear
Published: February 23rd, 2013 in News » World

The match meant to promote peace has now been cancelled after Palestinians football officials declared that their players won’t team up with Israel in a match against Barcelona.

FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell launched the initiative with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday. The match was meant “to strengthen the bridges of peace and dialogue” between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Rosell. Peres added that football “brings down barriers.”

While the initiative had the backing of the Israelis and of FC Barcelona, the Palestinian Football Association wouldn’t condone the match, saying “there are lots of obstacles.”

In 2012, freed Israeli solider Gilad Shalit, who was held hostage for five years by Hamas, was given free tickets to an FC Barcelona match. The gestured upset Gaza fans, but Palestinian leaders have since attended Barcelona games in Spain.

Related articles: FC Barcelona, Soccer, Football, Lionel Messi, Peace, Israel
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