Juventus, Atletico Madrid cancel football match in Tel Aviv amid Israeli strikes on Gaza

Juventus, Atletico Madrid cancel football match in Tel Aviv amid Israeli strikes on Gaza
The Italian and Spanish teams had faced criticism from BDS for their decision to hold the match in Tel Aviv upon its announcement, which now has been cancelled over 'security concerns' as Israel pounds Gaza for a third day in a row.
2 min read
07 August, 2022
The match between Juventus and Atletico Madrid was due to be played in Israel's Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday [Getty]

European footballing giants Juventus and Atletico Madrid have cancelled an upcoming friendly match due to be played in Israel, as Tel Aviv continued its military assault of Gaza for a third day in a row.

The match between the Italian and Spanish and sides was due to be played on Sunday at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium as part of Juventus’ summer tour, which serves as a pre-season warm-up before the teams begin their Serie A and La Liga campaigns for the 2022/2023 football season.

The match will instead take place behind closed doors at Juventus’ training ground in Turin, Italy, according to Italian media.

The statement read: "Due to the current security situation, Comtec Group, Juventus and Atletico Madrid announce that the friendly game between the two teams that was to take place in Israel this Sunday 7 August at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv has been cancelled".

The clubs’ initial decision to play in Tel Aviv was condemned by the Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) organisation, which leads a campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law, while striving to maintain that Palestinians are entitled to equal rights.

BDS labelled the teams’ decision to play in Israel as sports-washing, a practice where an organisation, government or any other entity uses sports to improve their tainted reputation on a global stage. This is usually carried out by hosting sports events, or sponsorship and purchase of sporting teams, among others.

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Several Palestinian football clubs, including the Amputee Football Club Association in Gaza, previously urged the teams to cancel the match. BDS further pointed out that several Palestinians football players have been killed by Israeli occupation forces.

Israeli forces have killed at least 30 Palestinians, including six children as air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip in a surge of violence in the enclave over the weekend. An athlete was also among those killed.