Israel’s friendly international football match against Northern Ireland will go ahead next month – despite renewed calls for it to be called off by Sinn Fein.
The game, is scheduled to take place on 11 September at Windsor Park in Belfast, though the left-wing Irish republican political party has once again called for it to be cancelled.
MLA Sinead Ennis said: “Sinn Fein continue to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel under which cultural, academic and sporting links fall.
“Therefore, I am once again calling on the IFA to cancel this match and send out a strong signal that the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, breach of international and human rights abuse won’t be tolerated.”
However, despite her calls, a spokesman for The Irish Football Association said: “The Association has no intention of cancelling Northern Ireland’s international challenge match against Israel on 11 September.”
The Northern Ireland Friends of Israel Group condemned Ms Ennis’ comments as being sad, saying: “This is a friendly football match between Northern Ireland and Israel – two teams which illustrate the power of sport to bring together different peoples and communities.
“The Northern Ireland team have Protestants and Catholics playing for it. Jews, Arabs, Druze and even Circassians have featured in the Israeli international squad – one of the most diverse and inclusive in the Middle East.
“It is sad to see a party here seek to impose an extremely divisive political policy on a sporting association, particularly given the huge strides made by the IFA and other sporting bodies to make sport more inclusive for all.”