Avram Grant out for West Ham Stoke game

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

Avram Grant is unlikely to be on the touchline on Yom Kippur when West Ham play at Stoke.

The manager's team is in trouble. After only three games at the start of the season, West Ham have no points.

Mr Grant, who was in Israel last week, was tight-lipped about his Yom Kippur plans, but it is thought he will not travel to Stoke.

The West Ham boss, although not religious, has always observed Yom Kippur in the past.

Eyebrows were raised in 2007 when only 36 hours after being appointed Chelsea manager, he observed Yom Kippur even though it was the day before a vital away match at Manchester United.

Missing West Ham's game at Stoke could be hugely embarrassing for Grant, but if he does decide to be on the touchline, there will be a furious response in Israel where public opinion is highly intolerant of its national figures desecrating Yom Kippur.

Knesset members demanded that then Deportivo keeper Dudu Awat be ousted from the national team for playing on Yom Kippur in 2006 - although no action was taken. And Avi Cohen, the first ever Israeli to play in England, caused a storm in Israel when he turned out for Liverpool in a match against Southampton on Yom Kippur 1980.

Avi Cohen's son Tamir currently plays for Bolton, who are away to Aston Villa on Yom Kippur, although he has not appeared for the first team this season. Tal Ben Haim will definitely not play for West Ham on Yom Kippur.

Israel's other two representatives in the Premier League will be unaffected. Chelsea's Yossi Benayoun and Blackpool's Dekel Keinan will play at Stamford Bridge in a Sunday kick-off on September 19.

    Last updated: 12:14pm, December 20 2010