Israel-Turkey tension hurts Maccabi Europa chances

By Jennifer Lipman, September 9, 2011
Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv

Israeli soldiers who play for the Maccabi Tel Aviv team will not be able to play in Turkey next week, following the breakdown in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Despite the political dispute, the match against the Bestikas team for the Europa League is set to proceed.

But several members of the Israel squad are also serving soldiers and the IDF has announced they cannot take part in the match.

The club is attempting to appeal against the IDF's decision, but the IDF yesterday said it could only be overruled by the chief of staff.

On the Maccabi website, fans were also told to heed warnings about visiting Turkey because their safety could not be guaranteed.

However, acording to the Turkish Huriyet newspaper, the tensions will not be brought on to the pitch. Sports Minister Suat Kilic said the Israelis would be able to return home safely.

Last updated: 10:35am, September 9 2011