By Andrew Warshaw
The increasingly dangerous military conflict in the Middle East has had an immediate impact on football with UEFA barring Israeli teams from playing European matches at home while the fighting between Israel and Hamas continues.
The decision by UEFA’s emergency panel will affect Israeli teams playing in the Champions League and Europa League. Citing the “current security situation,” UEFA says Israeli clubs must propose alternative venues in another country for home legs “until further notice.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv are due to host Santa Coloma for a July 22 Champions League qualifying second leg but the match has already been moved to Larnaca in Cyprus. Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Hapoel Tel Aviv have also shifted their July 24 home Europa League fixtures to Larnaca.
The UEFA decision came as Israel announced a ground offensive in Gaza that threatens to significantly increase the number of casualties on both sides.