Belgians happy to play ball
FOOTBALL Israel’s opening home match in the Euro 2016 qualifying tournament against Belgium has been postponed until March 31 due to the Gaza conflict.
Israel were due to host the group favourites on September 9, but the game will now be played in Jerusalem, three days after Israel hosts Wales at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa.
Belgium’s flexibility was reportedly due to next month’s vote on which 13 cities will host matches at the Euro 2020 finals, with Brussels one of 19 candidates, along with Jerusalem. Former Israel FA chief Avi Luzon sits on Uefa’s Executive Committee as chairman.
Israel had arranged to play a friendly against world champions Germany in Jerusalem on March 25, but that game has been postponed.
Eli Guttman’s men will begin their qualifying campaign with away matches in Cyprus on October 10 followed by Andorra three days later.
Meanwhile, Yossi Benayoun has confirmed that he will take part in a Peace match at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on September 1.
The opening round of matches in Ligat Ha’Al are scheduled to get under way this weekend, a week later than scheduled due to security situation.