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Argentina ‘calls off’ controversial World Cup warm-up against Israel

Argentina ‘calls off’ controversial World Cup warm-up against Israel

In an announcement on Wednesday, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires explained the decision by saying that there had been unspecified "threats and provocations" allegedly made against the Argentine squad's star player Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi of Argentina stretches before an worldwide friendly match between Argentina and Haiti at Alberto J. Armando Stadium on May 29, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Reports had surfaced in Argentina on Tuesday that the match would be called off, with Palestine's Football Association celebrating the news.

"I grew up with them and they have taught me many things".

BDS Argentina's call to the Argentine national soccer team to boycott a friendly match against Israel planned for Tel Aviv on June 9.

Rajoub wrote to Claudio Tapia, the head of Argentina's FA, last week accusing Israel of using the match as a "political tool".

Palestinians hailed the cancellation as a victory.

Jorge Sampaoli's men will face Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D in Russian Federation and while Messi admitted Argentina - runners-up in 2014 - were below the level of the favourites, he hopes they can deliver at the showpiece tournament.

Palestinians celebrated the game's cancellation. Jorge Faurie did not confirm the game had been axed, but told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed players had been reluctant to travel to Israel to play.

"I stressed that the game, in the wake of the killing of the Palestinians in Gaza and the relocation of the USA. embassy to Jerusalem, sends a risky message to the Israeli government that the world ignores its gross human rights violations".

Rajoub has long urged FIFA to expel Israel from the global football federation, citing Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian soccer players and because Israel maintains teams in West Bank settlements.

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

On Sunday, PFA chief Jibril Rajoub had urged fans to burn Messi photos and shirts if the Argentina superstar faced Israel in the scheduled friendly.

"We ask him to be participate in the legitimisation of the criminal occupation". People in Gaza cheered and in Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Messi and his colleagues for cancelling the game.

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