Uefa call off Europa League tie in Israel

 

Uefa have confirmed the postponement of Athletic Bilbao's Europa League game against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona due to ongoing safety concerns in Israel.

The Primera Division club were set to fly to Tel Aviv in advance of tomorrow's game Group I fixture in nearby Haifa, despite recent violence in the neighbouring Gaza strip.

A bomb ripped through a bus near Israel's military headquarters in Tel Aviv this morning, wounding at least 10 people and prompting Athletic to contact Uefa's emergency panel in pursuit of a postponement to tomorrow's match.

A statement released by Uefa this afternoon read: "The Uefa Emergency Panel met today and decided to postpone the Uefa Europa League match between Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC and Athletic Club which was scheduled to take place on Thursday November 22 at the Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa, due to the tense security situation in the region.

"A decision concerning the rescheduling of the match will be made by the end of the week."

A statement published on Athletic's official Twitter account read: "Uefa have confirmed to us that the match has been suspended."

Reports in Spain had suggested Athletic had already made attempts to convince the European game's governing body to hold the fixture outside of Israel, in light of the country's ongoing conflict with Palestine.

The Basque travelling party had arrived at Bilbao airport in anticipation of a five-hour flight to Israel, but Uefa's decision saw the players and coaching staff return to their Lezama training complex.

PA

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