Israel allows Arab Youth teams to enter West Bank

Israel has bowed to UEFA pressure and will allow youth football teams from Arab countries into Palestinian territories. Israel had initially denied entry, an official from Jordan said Friday.

The refusal by Israel to allow entry in the West Bank to coaches and players delayed the Under-17 West Asia Football Federation Championships, which were to start Thursday.

The WAFF president Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan and the vice president of FIFA both intervened with the help of UEFA to settle the problem said Fadi Zureiqat the secretary general of WAFF.

Israel relented to the pressure allowing entry permits for all officials and teams, said the secretary general.

Now that the delay is over, teams will head to the West Bank via the crossing known as King Hussein in Jordan and a meeting was planned of how to make up for the time lost.

The Palestinian territories and team will host the tournament, which will welcome teams from Jordan, Iraq, and the Emirates.

The director general of the Palestinian Football Association said that the civil administration in Israel had informed him that all the permits had been issued and that teams will be able to cross starting Friday. He added that the new start of the tournament was Sunday.

All of the details of players and officials from the WAFF had been sent to Israel six weeks in advance, so they would be provided permits to enter Israel on time.

All teams had initially planned to arrive three to four days prior to the Thursday start of the tournament.

This marks the first time a team from Iraq will travel into the Palestinian territories.

Many Arab countries will not play in Palestinian territories as they oppose the fact Israel decides who can and cannot enter.

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