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Football diplomacy

u talk

Football diplomacy



In this edition of U Talk, Sarah, from Lyon, France, asks: “Why can Israel participate in European League football?”

Pascal Boniface, Director of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations, in Paris, responds: “Because Israel is a member of the European Football Association, like Turkey, for historic reasons.

“Israel used to belong to the Asia zone, then the Arab countries that also belonged to the Asia zone refused to play against Israeli teams, both the national team and club teams, so there were boycott problems and cancelled matches.

“To solve this problem, the Europeans accepted Israel into the European Federation, and that’s how it is that Israel participates with the Euro national teams and in club competitions, Champions League and Europa League.

“Israel plays in UEFA competitions even though, of course, it’s not a member of the European Union and isn’t geographically on the European continent. The reasons that led to the geographic exception were political.”

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