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Israeli soccer club calls off match with Barcelona in Jerusalem

Faced with pressure by pro-Palestinian elements, Barcelona preferred having its soccer game against Beitar Jerusalem canceled, rather than play in Jerusalem.
Atletico Madrid's French midfielder Thomas Lemar (R) is marked by Beitar's midfielder Dan Einbinder during the friendly soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and Atletico Madrid at Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem, May 21, 2019.

The friendly exhibition match between Israeli soccer club Beitar Jerusalem and Spanish super team FC Barcelona, scheduled to take place Aug. 4, ended up being canceled, after the Catalonian team refused to play in Jerusalem, stay in Jerusalem and take a tour of the city.

“It is with great regret that I am forced to cancel the game against Barcelona,” Beitar owner Moshe Hogeg announced on his Facebook page July 15. This was followed by an explanation as to why the game was being canceled. “It was only when I received the contract that I first encountered the unequivocal demand that the game not be played in the capital, Jerusalem, as well as several other demands that I did not like. I went to sleep that night feeling broken-hearted. I thought a lot about it and decided that I am a proud Jew first and foremost. It is only fitting that the game against Beitar Jerusalem should take place in Jerusalem. I could never live with myself if the game wasn’t being held there for political reasons, and I succumbed to that.”

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