Following clash at sea, Turkey calls back under-19 team

Israel Football Association: “This is a political decision made by the Turkish government."

June 1, 2010 12:29
1 minute read.
soccer ball in grass

soccer ball 88. (photo credit: )

The friendly encounter between Israel’s and Turkey’s under-19 national teams scheduled to take place in Ness Ziona on Monday was canceled after the Turkish Football Association called back the side following the IDF’s raid earlier in the day on the Gaza-bound protest flotilla, which left 10 activists dead and dozens wounded.

“This is a political decision made by the Turkish government,” said the Israel Football Association in a statement. “The IFA regrets the mixing of politics with sports and thinks that the match should have been played.”

Israel coach Eli Ohana said that even though his team was given short notice, Turkey’s decision was not a surprising one.

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“We heard of the news a few minutes before we were meant to board the bus on the way to the stadium,” said Ohana.

“We had a feeling this might happen. We hoped that the incident at sea would not affect sports, but the team we were facing had nothing to do with the decision.

“It is a shame that matches are cancelled because of politics, especially youth matches,”Ohana added. “Whoever says politics isn’t mixed with sports is burying his head in the sand or is an idiot. The two are always mixed.”

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