Majdal Shams (Archives)
Photo: Avihu Shapira

Majdal Shams: 'Israelis can't play soccer here'

Youth soccer game in Golan village discontinued after rioters storm field, protest against Israeli team 'playing in Syrian territory'; IFA to meet with parties involved to prevent incident from recurring

Dozens of residents of the Majdal Shams village, located in the Golan near the Syrian border, stormed a local soccer field Saturday, demanding that the Youth Division game played on the field – between the Kfar Kama team and the local team – be immediately discontinued.


The reason, the rioters insisted, was that the soccer field belongs to Syrian territory, on which Israeli league teams are not allowed to play.


Coaches and players of the Kfar Kama Sports Club youth team – known for integrating players of Circassian, Jewish and Arab origin – rushed out of the field and ran to the locker-room.


"We did not expect such a traumatic incident to happen to the kids," said Kfar Kama coach Nir Adin, adding that the Majdal Shams team usually hosts games in the Arab town of Nahf in the Galilee and that Saturday was the first time his team played in Majdal Shams.


According to Adin, "After the riot started we didn’t want things to turn violent so we hurried to take the kids down to the locker room. Dozens of people stormed the field and drove us away."


The Majdal Shams team was also taken by surprise.


Coach Nadib Ayoub said: "This is a disaster for us – especially for the kids. This was supposed to be a historic game for us, hosting a game for the first time. Nothing could prepare us for this scenario. This was very unfortunate."


Shvag Murad, director of the Kfar Kama Sports Division, pointed blame at the Israeli Football Association: "I feel for those kids. How can the IFA send us to places without realizing the complexities involved? I have no qualms with the Majdal Shams team for hosting us, but with the association for treating us like guinea pigs. How can I explain to those kids that they can't play soccer because of politics?"


Spokeswoman for the IFA Michal Grundland addressed the incident, noting that "The Majdal Shams soccer team joined the association with the support of the local regional council.


"At no point was the association presented with the possibility that some may be against the move. Following the incident, the IFA will convene, along with the regional council and the team, in order to find the best way to resolve the issue."




פרסום ראשון: 03.24.13, 14:06
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