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Shechter barred from Dubai in last minute decision
February 17, 2013 02:36
Israeli Swansea striker used time to visit family and train with old team Hapoel Tel Aviv instead.
Itay Shechter

Itay Shechter 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

LONDON – Welsh Premier League football club Swansea City said a training trip to Dubai in which Israeli player Itay Shechter could not go had been a last-minute decision and that the player was happy to visit family in Israel instead.

On Friday, club officials said the trip took place due to a rescheduled game. The United Arab Emirates does not allow Israelis into the country.

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“After hastily arranging the Dubai trip to fit in with our rearranged fixture at Liverpool [on Sunday], the club was made aware at a late stage that Itay Shechter would not be allowed to travel because the UAE did not have diplomatic relations with Israel,” a spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.

The spokesman said the team’s manager, Michael Laudrup, had spoken to Shechter, who would be training with his former club, Hapoel Tel Aviv.

“The manager spoke to Itay about the situation, and the fact that he had not been home for five months gave him the opportunity to return to Israel to see his family instead,” he said.

Laudrup himself said it would have been possible to cancel the trip to Dubai, “but we had just made the arrangements and it was difficult to change.”

He added that in other situations team officials would think differently.

“When we have to plan in the future then we will look into if all our players can come,” Laudrup said. “Preseason would be completely different. I would never do anything like that.”

Last week the Board of Deputies of British Jews questioned Swansea’s decision to go to Dubai.

“It is a disgrace that Swansea footballer Itay Shechter was unable to train with his colleagues because the United Arab Emirates maintain a discriminatory policy of not admitting Israelis to the country,” the board’s chief executive, Jon Benjamin, said.

“By choosing to train in the UAE, Swansea City has tacitly accepted the discrimination against one of their players and this sends a terrible message at a time when racism is sadly a real problem in world football,” Benjamin said.
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