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Socceroos asked to boycott Palestine match

6:41 AM GMT+4 09/01/2019
The Australian Jewish Association has asked the FFA to withdraw from the game in protest

Football Federation Australia (FFA) have received a request from the Australian Jewish Association (AJA) for the Socceroos not to play their second Asian Cup group match against Palestine.

The AJA, who claim to be a not-for-profit community organisation, has asked for the boycott due to their belief that the Asian Football Confederation should not have admitted Palestine as a member and the AFC's 'antisemitic' expulsion of Israel in 1974.

"The Australian national football team (“the Socceroos”) should not play “Palestine” in the Asian Confederation Cup 2019 this Friday, 11 January 2019 in the United Arab Emirates," a press release from the AJA read.

"Soccer is being blatantly politicised by the Asian Football Confederation (“AFC”) as “Palestine” is not a country recognised by the international community. 

"The Asian Football Confederation (“AFC”), dominated by Arab interests, should not have admitted “Palestine” as a member.

"In 1974 the AFC expelled Israel as a member. Its expulsion could rightly be characterised as antisemitic.

"The AFC has even attempted to erase Israel from its history books altogether. Israel participated in the Asian Cup (which is played every 4 years) in 1956, 1960 and 1964, actually winning the Asian Cup in 1964. Yet the AFC's promotional video for the last Asian Cup (held in Australia in 2015) showcased all past winners but ignored Israel's win in 1964.

"The admission of "Palestine" as a participating country is the other side of the same antisemitic coin. “Palestine” is in part controlled by Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation and in part by the Palestinian Authority which incites and rewards the murder of Jews in Israel.

"Australia’s participation in the Asian Cup in these circumstances legitimises the politicisation of the Cup as it renders Australia complicit with the AFC’s political bias against Israel."

Palestine were first recognised by FIFA in 1998 but didn't play their first official home game until 2008.

After drawing 0-0 with Syria in their 2019 Asian Cup opener, they are set to play the Socceroos on Friday at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. 

Australia lost their opening group match against Jordan 1-0 and need a positive result to keep their Asian Cup defence on track.