BARCELONA: Barcelona are planning to play a friendly match against a joint Israeli-Palestinian team in Tel-Aviv at the end of July.
Club president Sandro Rosell hoped the club might contribute to the promotion of peace and understanding in the Middle East.
He said: “Barcelona, wishes to contribute to the effort to strengthen the bridges of peace and dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian communities. The best way we can do this is with a ball,”
Rosell made the announcement alongside Israeli President Shimon Peres during a visit to Tel Aviv the day after his club lost 2-0 away to Milan in their Champions League.
Israeli FA chairman Avi Luzon said the proposed game at the National Stadium in Tel Aviv on July 31 would be between Barcelona and a squad made up equally of Israeli and Palestinian players managed jointly by both of the national team coaches.
He added it was now up to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to the proposal.
Rosell is scheduled to meet Abbas in Ramallah, on the West Bank.
Peres said: “I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to launch this project together. Your club motto is ‘Mes Que un club’ and it’s true. Barcelona is more than a club. It is a message. A message of togetherness. A message of friendship.
“A football club is also a school. It is educational; it teaches our children to play together despite their differences.”
He added: “Real peace is between people and not just between governments and as our children love Barcelona, so, too, do children in the Palestinian Authority.
A crucial issue – and one which could prevent the match taking place – will be whether the Israeli security authorities allow Palestinian players and supporters into Tel-Aviv.
Rosell said Peres had undertaken to ensure that all players selected to participate would be permitted to attend.
However the experience of both FIFA and the IOC in trying to ease access for Palestinian sportsmen suggests that political statements have little effect on security commanders.
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