(AP) — The head of the Palestinian football federation is calling on Arab and Muslim sports fans to burn photos and T-shirts of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi if he attends a friendly match between Argentina and Israel next weekend. Jibril Rajoub made the call after a demonstration in front of the Argentinian representative office in Ramallah, where he asked Argentina to cancel the match.The match is scheduled to be played Saturday at an Israeli soccer stadium in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Malha. “Messi. Don’t come. Don’t whitewash the face of racism,” Rajoub said. Israel’s football federation says Messi is expected to play at next week’s match. … [Read more...] about Palestinian Soccer Chief Urges Lionel Messi to Boycott Israel
TEL AVIV – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday mocked soccer player Lionel Messi for missing a crucial World Cup penalty, saying it was the result of Argentina’s last minute withdrawal from a warm-up game in Israel. “In the Argentina against Iceland game we saw just how much Messi needed the warm-up game against Israel,” Liberman tweeted after Messi missed a penalty resulting in a 1-1 draw against Iceland.The Argentine player’s 64th-minute penalty was stopped by Iceland’s goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson. “Well done to the Iceland team, a small country with 350,000 residents and a great team,” Liberman added. After an intense Palestinian campaign which included death threats against some of the soccer team’s players, Argentina cancelled its final pre-World Cup warm up game with Israel. Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi also linked the miss to the withdrawal from the Israel game, tweeting a poll asking, “Who … [Read more...] about Israeli Defense Minister Blames Messi Penalty Miss on Nixed Game in Jerusalem
The residents of Bronnitsy, where the Argentina squad are based during the World Cup, made a giant cake in the shape of Lionel Messi to mark his 31st birthday on Sunday. While Argentina's World Cup may not be going as well as they had hoped, a birthday is always cause for celebration - at least to the residents of the small Russian town of Bronnitsy where the South Americans have based themselves for the tournament. For Argentina captain Lionel Messi's 31st birthday on Sunday, hundreds of residents celebrated with a colourful music festival and, in the absence of the great man himself, a giant life-size cake in his image. Rumours that Messi would drop in on the celebrations proved to be just that - so we may never know what he thought about his giant chocolate and sponge twin, but his birthday was certainly a good excuse for a party in a town that has taken Argentina to its heart. … [Read more...] about Russians make giant Messi cake to mark star`’s 31st birthday.
Geneva (AFP) – FIFA on Friday hit the Palestinian Football Association chief with a year-long “match” ban after he called for protests against Lionel Messi over plans for Argentina to play Israel in Jerusalem. In a statement, FIFA said it had sanctioned PFA president Jibril Rajoub for breaching codes against “inciting hatred and violence… following media statements he gave calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi.”Rajoub had demanded that the Barcelona star not take part in the pre-World Cup friendly against Israel sceduled for June 9 and called on fans to burn shirts bearing his name if he did. Rajoub told a June 3 press conference that Messi, “has tens of millions of fans in the Arab and Muslim countries… we ask everyone to burn their shirts which bear his name and posters (with his image).” Under the sanction, Rajoub can still remain in office as PFA … [Read more...] about ‘Inciting Hatred’: Palestinian FA Boss Gets 12-month ‘Match’ Ban over Messi Comments
RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – The head of the Palestinian football association pledged to appeal Monday against FIFA’s 12-month ban for comments made about Lionel Messi, calling it an “unjust and political decision.” FIFA last month banned Jibril Rajoub from attending matches for a year and fined him 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,600, 17,700 euros) for “inciting hatred and violence” after calling on fans to burn pictures and jerseys of Messi in the build-up to a friendly game with Israel.Rajoub had demanded that Barcelona star Messi not take part in the pre-World Cup friendly against Israel scheduled for June 9 and called on fans to burn shirts bearing his name if he did. The game was later cancelled after Argentina withdrew. In his first press conference since the ban was announced, Rajoub denied wrongdoing. “This is an unjust and political decision, an Israeli decision,” he said, pointing out the complaint came from the Israeli … [Read more...] about Palestinian Football Chief Calls Ban for Messi Comments ‘Political’