Argentina call off final warm up match against Israel

Image PA

Image PA

The cancellation of the match came hours after pro-Palestinian activists staged a demonstration in front of the sports complex in Barcelona where the Argentinian national team were preparing ahead of the World Cup. With the World Cup about to start, it's still not clear at all what the best XI even is but Jorge Sampaoli will know his side always have a chance. Add World Cup as an interest to stay up to date on the latest World Cup news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Argentine FA president Claudio Tapia apologized for pulling out of the Israel game during his own press conference in Barcelona on Wednesday. Meanwhile, boycott groups have welcomed the news and told soccer's global governing body, FIFA, to "take note".

A source at Argentina's football federation on Tuesday confirmed the cancellation of the worldwide friendly scheduled to be played Saturday at Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem.

"I would like to apologize to all the Argentinian people who live in the Israeli community, to all the Israelis who bought tickets so quickly to see the Argentinian team", said Tapia.

The Israel Football Association (IFA) has filed a compaint against the Palestianian FA (PFA) and its president after Argentina canceled a scheduled friendly in Jerusalem under pressure from Palestinian protesters. "(We) apologise. I would like everyone to take this decision as a contribution to world peace".

Palestinians are outraged at US President Donald Trump's decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, breaking with decades of policy, and move his country's embassy there.

"It's not the biggest tragedy in the world, but it is a consistent pattern of activity", said Hayden Lutek, a 25-year-old graduate student from Canada, referencing pressure from various Palestinian groups that influence high-profile visits to Israel. "It just strengthens the hands of those in the BDS movement who just want to ostracize and marginalize the Jewish State. These are real threats".

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Palestinian organizations have been sending threats since it was announced that the match would be held in Jerusalem.

"The Argentinians did not object to having the game in Jerusalem", said Regev. He called on Arab soccer fans to burn Messi posters if the game went ahead. The match was hotly opposed by Palestinians, and a pro-Palestinian group protested outside of the Barcelona practice facility earlier this week.

The head of the Palestinian soccer association, Jibril Rajoub, claimed Israel had turned the match into a "political tool".

On Wednesday, Rajoub thanked the Argentines for "following their conscience".

'The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina's players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal'. They followed their conscience. Rajoub said: "Values, morals and sport have secured a victory and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game". "We will not yield before a pack of anti-Semitic terrorist supporters". Sports "should be kept away from politics", he stressed Rajoub, claiming Israel was using football to deflect attention from its actions in the territory.

For her part, Regev responded: "I say, this was no disaster. So I'm saying to the Israeli Right and to Regev: This is what you deserve". "We'll continue hosting worldwide events and won't let this prevent us from showing pride and happiness in our country".

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