English football fans visit Yad Vashem

FA chairman: Football can help break down barriers and eliminate racism.

Robinson 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Robinson 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
A special delegation of English Football Association members and English fans visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on Friday, ahead of Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifying match in Tel Aviv. The visit was organized by the Maccabi Association of Great Britain. Before the memorial ceremony at the end of the visit, English FA Chairman Noel White said that such a visit made people understand that they could not allow racism and hate to develop. "Football can play a part in helping to break down barriers and to eliminate racism," added White. On Friday, hundreds of England and Israel fans flocked to a "happening" in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park. The event took a while to fill, since initially most of the England fans preferred to remain on the beach and in the bars they had graced with their presence since Thursday. Meanwhile, Israel will hold its final training session on Friday afternoon before Saturday's clash which is of vital importance for both teams. Defeat on Saturday could seriously endanger England's chances of qualifying for the European Championship finals next year while Israel needs to keep its slim qualification hopes alive after losing 4-3 at home to Croatia in the last game. Israel's captain Yossi Benayoun came through Thursday's training without any problems. The West Ham midfielder had been out of action for four weeks with a groin injury. Since arriving in Israel on Sunday, Benayoun had completed three practices, and the playmaker will start. "There is no doubt that England is a stronger team than Israel but I hope and believe that if things come together then we will be able to win," said Israel coach Dror Kashtan. Members of the English and Israeli FAs will participate on Saturday in a special event in the framework of the "Kick Racism out of Football" campaign with former players from both countries. Meanwhile, Israel Railway announced Friday that it would add another six trains to transport supporters to the game from the North and the South.