Sport Football Jewish body demands Socceroos boycott Palestine match at Asian Cup

Jewish body demands Socceroos boycott Palestine match at Asian Cup

Palestine players acknowledge their fans after their Asian Cup Group B match against Syria at Sharjah Stadium. Photo: Getty
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The Australian Jewish Association has demanded the Socceroos boycott their second Asian Cup group match against Palestine on Friday night.

Australia will take on Palestine in a crucial Group B clash in Dubai, needing to bounce back from its opening game 1-0 loss to Jordan.

The AJA however believes Palestine is not a country recognised by the international community and that soccer has been “blatantly politicised” by the Asian Football Confederation admitting the Arab state as a member.

Palestine was admitted to FIFA in 1998 and qualified for its first Asian Cup in 2015 in Australia.

On Sunday Palestine picked up its first point in a major tournament when it held Syria to a 0-0 draw in Sharjah.

The Palestine football team often encounters difficulties due to the political tension between it and Israel.

Many of its players are drawn from the Palestinian diaspora due to travel restrictions within Israel and the AFC has had to cancel fixtures in the past involving the team due to visa issues.

The injury-plagued Socceroos, including Massimo Luongo, have enough on their minds without the boycott call. Photo: Getty

Despite having diplomatic relations, Australia is one of several countries globally that do not recognise Palestinian statehood.

The AJA said Australia playing Palestine “legitimises the politicisation of the tournament” and has called on the FFA to not take part in Friday’s match.

“The FFA board should not allow the Socceroos to play Palestine,” AJA president David Adler said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“If compelled to do so, then at the very least it must do so under protest.”

AAP has sought comment from the FFA.

-AAP

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