Photo: Reuters
Aftermath of IDF airstrike
Photo: Reuters

FIFA to fund Gaza soccer field repair

Gaza field was bombed during an IDF offensive earlier this month; FIFA president: Our role is to help ensure young have hope, possibility to enjoy school of life football represents

FIFA will pay for repairs to a soccer field in the Gaza Strip that was damaged in a bombing during an IDF offensive earlier this month.


"In the world of today, which is disrupted by long-lasting disputes and violence, football is one of the very few universal tools mankind can use to bridge gaps between nations and peoples, and to symbolize what unites our planet over what divides it," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Tuesday.


FIFA said it was not yet sure how much the repairs would cost.

IDF strike left crater in Gaza soccer field


World soccer's governing body said with the help of the Palestinian FA, it would evaluate over the next few days the extent of the damage done to the open-air stadium and its stands. Much would depend on whether the drainage system was badly damaged.


"FIFA's role is not to reprimand, but to help create bonds and ensure that the young people of the region have hope and the possibility to enjoy the school of life that football represents," Blatter said. "Therefore, I call on the relevant authorities to do everything they can to allow Palestinian and Israeli football to develop."

FIFA stressed that it supported Palestinian and Israeli football equally.


While UEFA banned Israeli clubs and the national team from playing international competitions at home between October 2001 and April 2004 because of a series of terrorist attacks, FIFA ensured that Tel Aviv hosted the Israeli national team's qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup.


FIFA decided to pay for repairs on the stadium after it deemed the direct strike was "without any reason" and that the soccer field was not being used by Palestinians as a missile launching pad, as Israel's ambassador to Switzerland had originally claimed.


No casualties were reported in the April 1 air strike, which reportedly left a large crater in the field. The Israeli military said there had not been any rocket fire from the soccer field, but that the air strike was part of an effort to deter possible attacks after an increase in rocket launches from Gaza.


פרסום ראשון: 04.11.06, 20:43
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