UEFA President Michel Platini ensured Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon that the 2013 European Under-21 Championship will go ahead as planned in Israel next summer despite mounting pressure following the jailing of a Palestinian national team player.
Palestinian FA president Jibril Rajoub urged UEFA to remove Israel as the host of the tournament last week, with Palestinian player Mahmoud Sarsak approaching a fourth month on a hunger strike after being held in administrative detention since 2009.According to reports on Monday, Sarsak, who was arrested by the IDF when he arrived at the Erez border crossing on his way to the West Bank, agreed to end his hunger strike in exchange for his release on July 10.
Rajoub asked Platini not to give Israel the "honor" of hosting the Under-21 championship, but the Frenchman vehemently rejected his request.
"Despite a certain amount of pressure being put on us, the 2013 European Under-21 Championship will indeed take place in Israel," Platini wrote to Luzon. "UEFA is an apolitical organization and your association earned the right to host the competition through a fair, democratic vote."