Grant cleared for Malaysia trip

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The Independent Football

Chelsea's pre-season tour of Malaysia has received the green light after the country's government announced there would be no restrictions on the club's two Israelis. Doubts had been raised about the tour after Chelsea said they would not travel without manager Avram Grant and defender Tal Ben Haim.

Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, and citizens need special permission to travel to the country, but foreign minister Rais Yatim insisted there would be no problems with the Chelsea pair.

Rais said: "In this case, although we don't have diplomatic relations with Israel or direct trade with the country, we don't have objections over their visit. They are a sports team with two Israeli members. We don't see it as something wrong. We have to look at this on a case-by-case basis. We don't want to mix politics with sports."

"It would be a pity that politics should get in the way of sports," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said last week. "I'd like to see Chelsea although it is not my team, I would like to see them here." Chelsea are due to play the Malaysia national team in Kuala Lumpur on 29 July.

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