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In a statement made yesterday prior to the bus bombing in Jerusalem that left at least 18 people dead, UEFA said a decision would be taken next week on whether teams from Israel would be allowed to resume staging European club competition matches on home soil.

European football's governing body said yesterday that the UEFA Emergency Committee would discuss the issue during next week's activities in Monaco that herald the start of the new season, culminating in the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Porto and AC Milan.

A decision is expected before the UEFA Champions League group stage and UEFA Cup first-round draws in Monaco late next week. UEFA's Emergency Committee is empowered to take urgent decisions between regular meetings of the UEFA Executive Committee.

UEFA has been reviewing the security situation on a regular basis for more than a year, since advising that European games should not be played in Israel. Recent intensive discussions have also taken place between UEFA, the Israel Football Association and senior Israeli political figures.

UEFA said it has been encouraged by recent political developments, and will continue to monitor the situation over the next week in the run-up to the Monaco events leading commentators to believe that a lifting of the ban was imminent. But last night's attack dealt a severe blow to the chances of a return to international football in Israel.