Report: Israel Backtracks, Allows Arab Youth Soccer Teams Into West Bank

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Israel will allow youth soccer teams into the West Bank in a departure from its original decision after pressure from UEFA and FIFA, the French news agency AFP reported Sunday, citing a Jordanian official.

West Asia Football Federation’s Under-17’s Championship was set to begin Thursday but suffered a delay because Israel wouldn’t let the Iraqi, Jordanian and United Arab Emirates teams to enter the West Bank, according to AFP.

“WAFF President [Jordan’s] Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and FIFA’s vice-president intervened with UEFA to settle this issue,” WAFF secretary-general Fadi Zureiqat told AFP.

“Israel capitulated [to the pressure] and allowed entry permits for all the teams and officials,” he said.

“The delegations have prepared to set off for the West Bank via the King Hussein crossing [with Jordan]. WAFF will hold a meeting this evening to decide the official program, following the delay.”

Separately, FIFA told AFP that it had interceded on behalf of the soccer teams appealing to the Israel Football Association as result of a letter from the Palestinian Football Association on Aug. 12. 

Players of the Palestinian soccer team in the West Bank town of A-Ram. Credit: AP

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