Ironi Kiryat Shmona president: Athletic would have been safe in Israel

The Haifa club's top official has downplayed the security risk in the area cited by Uefa for the postponement of Thursday's Europe League game
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona president Izzi Sheratzky believes his club’s Europa League match against Athletic Bilbao should have been allowed to go ahead.

The fixture was called off following a bombing in nearby Tel-Aviv, the city into which the Spanish side were due to fly.

Sheratzky claims Uefa overreacted and has emphasised that the match itself would have taken place a safe distance from the scene of the bombing.

“The game could have gone ahead because it would have been played in Haifa, 250 kilometres north of the Gaza Strip where the conflict is taking place," Sheratzky told reporters.

“What has happened is because Athletic are a team with a lot of power in Europe,” he added.

Sheratzky's counterpart at the Basque club, Josu Urrutia, said the postponement would cause unwelcome fixture congestion but added that safety was paramount in his mind.

"The calendar is very difficult, but that is the least of our worries," Urrutia told reporters at Bilbao Airport, where the team had been waiting to board before the news broke.