Palestinian football boss threatens to attack Messi, burn his shirts | Sunday Observer

Palestinian football boss threatens to attack Messi, burn his shirts

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

BUENOS AIRES AFP: Argentina’s upcoming friendly with Israel in Jerusalem has been cancelled, the Israeli embassy confirmed, citing unspecified threats against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The World Cup warmup match had been scheduled to take place on Saturday.

But its status had been placed in doubt earlier, following protests by Palestinian football authorities who had urged Messi not to take part.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed Argentina’s players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the game.

On Sunday, Palestinian football boss Jibril Rajoub urged Messi not to play in the game in Jerusalem and urged fans to burn shirts bearing his name if he did.

At a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Rajoub told journalists he had written to Argentina’s government asking that Messi not take part in the June 9 friendly.

“This match has become a political tool,” Rajoub said in Arabic.

“The Israeli government is trying to give it political significance by insisting it be held in Jerusalem.”

Palestinians are outraged at US President Donald Trump’s decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with decades of policy, and move his country’s embassy there.

 

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