The Israel Football Association is confident the friendly match against Argentina will go ahead as planned on June 9 despite a boycott campaign being waged against the upcoming game in Israel.
The campaign is being sponsored by BDS Argentina, which is using the motto “Argentina don’t go” to Israel, or #ArgentinaNoVayas. BDS stands for the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” movement against Israel.
The campaign is getting international exposure, and has been picked up in Spain, but the IFA has no doubt it will not prevent the holding of the match as planned.
“Like anything else to do with the BDS movement, this is complete fake news and a heart’s wish that will not be realized,” the IFA told The Jerusalem Post.
“The game will take place as planned and instead of using football for boycotts, it will once more be a bridge between peoples.”
Argentinean National Secretary of Sports and the Argentine Football Association, or AFA, on Friday received a letter signed by the Argentinean Committee of Solidarity with Palestine asking for the cancellation of the match that will take place in either Haifa, Ramat Gan or Jerusalem, one week before Argentina opens its World Cup campaign against Iceland in Russia.
The letter said that the cancellation of that friendly match “should represent the solidarity of values of the Argentine people towards other peoples who are victims of oppression, apartheid and genocide.”
Lionel Messi’s Argentina, beaten by Germany in the last World Cup final and still awaiting its first title since 1986, will face Croatia and Nigeria as well as Iceland in the group stage.
Argentina visited Israel prior to the 1986 World cup, claiming a 7-2 win in a friendly against the blue-and-white. The Argentinians subsequently also came to the Holy Land ahead of the World Cups in 1990, 1994 and 1998, which was the team’s last visit to Israel.