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UEFA orders no games in Israel

Saturday, July 19, 2014

NYON, Switzerland - European football's governing body UEFA announced yesterday that no Champions League or Europa League matches could be played in Israel until further notice "for security reasons".

"The UEFA Emergency Panel met on 16 July and decided that, due to the current security situation in Israel, no UEFA competition matches may be played in the country until further notice," read a statement issued by UEFA.

"Consequently, the Israeli clubs involved in forthcoming fixtures have been requested to propose alternative venues outside of Israel's territory for their home legs in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League."

UEFA also decided to keep Ukrainian and Russian clubs from playing each other "until further notice" because of the continuing unrest between the neighbouring countries.

Russian and Ukrainian associations "expressed concerns about safety and security."

It means Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg and Ukrainian club Dnipro cannot be paired against each other in the Champions League third qualifying round draw on July 18.

The Israel decision, announced on the eve of Friday's third qualifying round draw for both competitions, affects the looming fixtures of four Israeli clubs.

In the Champions League, Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Andorrans Santa Coloma 1-0 away in their first leg, second qualifying round tie on Tuesday.

They were to host Santa Coloma for the July 22 second leg in Israel, when they aim to take their European campaign to the next level.

The fixture has been shifted to Larnaca in Cyprus.

In the Europa League, Hapoel Kiryat Shimona have a direct berth in the third qualifying round, and so will also need to rethink their fixture.

Hapoel Beer Sheva will take on Croatian club Split there, after their away game on Thursday in the Balkan nation.

The UEFA decision came amid the deadliest wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians since 2012.

One Israeli has died in a rocket attack and several have been seriously wounded.

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