Report: Israeli clubs cannot host European matches next week
UEFA announced Wednesday that Israeli clubs cannot host European matches next week due to the "unrest" in Israel, reports Allon Sinai of The Jerusalem Post.
Israel is currently engaged in hostilities with Hamas, a militant group that runs the Gaza Strip. From July 8 -- when the conflict began in earnest -- through July 15, there had been 1,147 rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel, according to the New York Times. In that same time span, Israel had struck 1,603 targets in the Gaza Strip.
Previously, the first and second leg fixtures of the UEFA Champions League second qualifying rounds between Israeli clubs and other European clubs all had to be played away from Israel due to the conflict.
Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv FC and Andorra's FC Santa Coloma swapped the order of matches, and Tuesday's opening game was played in Andorra instead of Israel. Tel Aviv defeated Santa Coloma 1-0 on a goal from Rade Prica in the 64th minute.
Sky Sports reported that UEFA is closely watching the situation to determine how to proceed in Israel:
A UEFA spokesman told Sky Sports News: "We are closely monitoring the situation and in contact with the Israeli FA regarding any decision on the fixtures to be played in Israel.
According to Sinai, three Israeli clubs -- Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beer Sheva -- will have to play both legs of qualifying away from home due to concerns over the security situation in Israel.
Mac TA, Hap TA and Beersheba already exchanged home and away legs due to security situation but will now also have to play 2nd leg abroad.— Allon Sinai (@AllonSinai) July 16, 2014
- Sarah Barshop