Israeli Footballer Mori on Dutch Vitesse Squad Denied Entry Into UAE
Israeli footballer Dan Mori, 25, was denied a visa to enter Abu Dhabi, while the other members of the Dutch Vittesse Arnhem squad made their way to the United Arab Emirates for a training camp, Eurosport reported on Monday.
“We are playing against clubs who are banking on us coming and we want to prepare ourselves properly for the second half of the season,” Vitesse spokeswoman Esther Bal told Dutch Radio One on Monday. “Organizers had (previously) assured us Mori would be allowed to enter the country,” Bal said.
According to the Inside World Soccer website, Bal added: “Of course we wanted the team to be complete and it is very irritating for Mori that he is not with them but the interests of the team are paramount. Mori said so himself. And as a football club, we steer clear of politics and religion.”
The United Arab Emirates does not recognize Israel, and refused entry to Mori with his team because he is an Israeli.
Esther Voet, of the Dutch Israeli Information Center, CIDI, said Vitesse should raise the issue with the world football body FIFA, according to RTL News.
“I wonder how things will go in Qatar where the 2022 World Cup is being held,” she was quoted as saying by RTL News.
Dutch politicians said the club’s decision to go ahead with the visit was “cowardly,” according to media reports cited by Eurosport, while the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said it would not be getting involved in the row. “It’s a political question,” a spokesman told reporters.
Mori joined the Dutch club from Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv in 2012.
Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was also refused a visa to compete in a tournament in the UAE in 2009, Eurosport said.