Never mind! Melikson rebuffs Poland, will stay neutral

“I’ve decided that for the moment I won’t play for either Israel or Poland,” he said in a statement.

September 23, 2011 06:53
1 minute read.
Maor Melikson

Maor Melikson 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )

A day after announcing that he would like to play for the Poland national team, Maor Melikson had a change of heart on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Yavne native, who holds a Polish passport and has been playing for Wisla Krakow since January, declared on Thursday that he has decided not to represent either Israel or Poland, saying, “my heart prevailed over my mind”.

Despite already making two appearances for Israel in friendly matches, Melikson said on Wednesday that he wants to play for Poland, the co-host of Euro 2012 with Ukraine.

According to FIFA regulations a player can change his allegiance to another country as long as he has not made an appearance in a competitive match.

Melikson, who began his senior career at Betar Jerusalem before also playing for Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Kfar Saba and Hapoel Beersheba, said that the choice to play for Poland was “the toughest decision of my life” and that it is “a huge honor that a national team like Poland wants me to play for it.”

However, after just one day, Melikson changed his mind.

“I’ve decided that for the moment I won’t play for either Israel or Poland,” he said in a statement.

“The decision is not brought about by fear or regret, but due to an inner feeling. In two days of madness I didn’t really pay attention to all the critics, but rather to people like [Hapoel Beersheba coach] Nir Klinger and [Hapoel Beersheba owner] Alona Barkat and to my heart which won out over my mind.”

“It is not fair to the Poland national team that I will not be 100 percent committed to them. It is also not fair that I return to the Israel national team after all that has happened.

I accept this fate and understand the consequences.”

The Melikson saga could take another twist on Sunday when Israel coach Luis Fernandez is set to announce the national team’s squad for its final Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta and may well choose to call-up the Krakow midfielder.

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