Cyprus to Allow Israeli Teams to Play Home Games on the Island

The Cypriot government informed the Foreign Ministry Thursday afternoon that it had decided to allow Israeli teams to play their European matches on the island.

The decision came following the intervention of senior Israeli politicians, among them Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Minister of Science, Culture, and Sports Matan Vilnai.

Maccabi Haifa's Champions League second qualifying round game against Belshina Bobruisk of Belarus on July 31 will therefore be played in Nicosia's GSP Stadium. Hapoel Tel Aviv will have to find an alternate venue for its UEFA Cup qualifying round, first-leg match against Albania's KS Partizani on August 15 because a Cypriot team will be playing in GSP Stadium on that date.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's UEFA Cup qualifying round, second-leg tie against Estonia's Levadia Tallinn on August 29 is due to take place in Nicosia as scheduled.

On Wednesday the Cypriot government had announced its hesitation on complying with UEFA's request to hold Israel's European matches on the island following the IAF strike in Gaza that killed 14 people and a Hamas military wing leader.