Con­flict ru­in­ing sport­ing dreams

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER

THE GAZA con­flict is wreak­ing havoc with Is­rael’s in­ter­na­tional sports am­bi­tions.

Septem­ber had promised to be a fes­ti­val of sports in foot­ball, ten­nis and bas­ket­ball, but many events are be­ing moved away from the coun­try.

Is­rael’s show­piece opener in the Euro 2016 qual­i­fiers against Bel­gium at Teddy Sta­dium in Jerusalem on Septem­ber 9 looked likely to be moved to a neu­tral venue.

But UEFA have now agreed to post­pone a de­ci­sion un­til the end of Au­gust. UEFA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber and for­mer Is­rael FA chair­man Avi Lu­zon said: “I am now op­ti­mistic the game will go ahead in Jerusalem if a long- term cease­fire is agreed.” All Is­rael’s clubs sides in Europe have al­ready had to play ‘home’ matches in Cyprus.

In ten­nis, the in­au­gu­ral Negev Open ATP tour­na­ment sched­uled for Septem­ber 15 in Ra­mat Hasharon, the first ATP tour­na­ment i n Is­rael since 1996, has al­ready been can­celled. Is­raeli star player Andy Ram, due t o p l a y his l ast m a t c h i n t h e Davis Cup t i e, s aid: “I t ’ s r eally frus­trat­ing that the ATP can­celled the tour­na­ment six weeks be­fore it was set to be held. I was in­volved in or­gan­is­ing the tour­na­ment and I’m sad­dened by the de­ci­sion. ”

Is­rael have al­ready been told by the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion to move their Davis Cup World Group play-off against Ar­gentina in Tel Aviv on Septem­ber 12 to Buenos Aires or a neu­tral venue.

The Is­rael Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion ap­pealed against the de­ci­sion, but on Mon­day it was re­jected by the ITF.

Is­rael was forced to play i t s bas­ket­ball Euro 2015 qual­i­fiers in Cyprus, while the Euro­pean Short­Course Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships in Is­rael have been post­poned un­til 2015, though the Euro­pean swim­ming fed­er­a­tion did not men­tion the mil­i­tary con­flict in an­nounc­ing its de­ci­sion.

PHOTO: AP

An­gry: Andy Ram

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