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
On Friday, club officials said the trip took place due to a
rescheduled game. The United Arab Emirates does not allow Israelis into the
“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
The spokesman said the team’s manager, Michael Laudrup, had
spoken to Shechter, who would be training with his former club, Hapoel Tel
“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
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.
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.