Israeli Soccer Teams Barred From Hosting International Games

European football's governing body announces no matches to be held in Israel 'for security reasons.'

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Avi Nimni, former Israel national soccer player, holds the official 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship soccer ball.Credit: Reuters

European football's governing body UEFA announced on Thursday that no Champions League or Europa League matches could be played in Israel until further notice "for security reasons".

"The UEFA Emergency Panel met on 16 July and decided that, due to the current security situation in Israel, no UEFA competition matches may be played in the country until further notice," read a statement issued by UEFA.

"Consequently, the Israeli clubs involved in forthcoming fixtures have been requested to propose alternative venues outside of Israel's territory for their home legs in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League."

The decision, announced on the eve of Friday's third qualifying round draw for both competitions, could affect a total of four Israeli clubs.

In the Champions League, Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Andorrans Santa Coloma 1-0 away in their first leg, second qualifying round tie on Tuesday. It is due to host Santa Coloma for the July 22 second leg in Israel, when it aims to take its European campaign to the next level.

In the Europa League, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona has already secured its berth, and so will also need to rethink its fixture.

Fellow Europa League hopefuls Hapoel Beer Sheva were meanwhile set to face Croatian club Split in an away game later Thursday, while Hapoel Tel Aviv lost 3-0 to to Astana in Kazakhstan.