Dutch Soccer Club Apologizes for Ditching Israeli Player on UAE Trip

Vitesse Arnhem said Abu Dhabi refused Dan Mori entry. UAE: Nobody asked for permission for him.

A Dutch soccer club that left behind its Israeli member when traveling to Abu Dhabi last week has apologized for the move, the team announced on its website Saturday. The team, Vitesse Arnhem, admitted in its statement that there were "diverse opportunities given to make travel" arrangements possible for its Israeli defender, Dan Mori, to the United Arab Emirates.

Dutch politicians and the Dutch media criticized Vitesse last week for playing in Abu Dhabi without Mori. The team had initially claimed that it had the United Arab Emirates foreign ministry had refused to grant entry to Mori, according to news website Arabianbusiness.com, but the UAE embassy in The Hague issued a statement that it "would like to categorically confirm that there was no application or request made to us for this visit."

The club announced on its website Saturday that it evaluated the procedure involving the departure for the training camp in Abu Dhabi and concluded that the "decision was understandable but unfortunate."

The team stated: "Vitesse first and foremost regrets the commotion that has been caused and offers its apologies to all those who feel offended by the exclusion of Dan Mori."

Few Israelis have competed in the Gulf States, though it has been possible in recent years. Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer became the first Israeli to compete in the region when she appeared in the 2008 WTA Qatar Open. While she was refused permission to compete in a tournament in the UAE in 2009, she competed in both the Dubai Tennis Championships and the Qatar Open in 2011.

Israel sent a delegation to the 2013 Swimming World Cup in Doha, but the hosts refused to display the name "Israel" – displaying the cryptic "IRS" instead – or display images of the flag on the podium in honor of medal winner Amit Ivri.

AFP