Palestinian FA postpones cup final after Israel denies travel

The first leg of the final was played by Khadamat Rafah and Balata FC, ending in 1-1. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 July 2019
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Palestinian FA postpones cup final after Israel denies travel

  • Israel only granted 4 travel permits out of total of 35 were requested
  • The officials did not clarify on what grounds they refused the permits

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: The final of the Palestine Cup has been postponed after Israel denied Gaza-based players permits to travel, the Palestinian Football Association said on Wednesday.
The second leg of the final between Balata FC and Khadamat Rafah, the winners of the West Bank and Gaza leagues respectively, was due to take place on Wednesday, PFA vice president Susan Shalabi told AFP.
Gaza-based team Khadamat Rafah requested travel permits to the West Bank for 35 people, but Israel granted just four, three of them to club officials, Shalabi said.
“The Israelis are very adamant in their refusal,” she added, saying they had cited security concerns they did not specify.
A Khadamat Rafah official told AFP the club were still waiting for final decisions and were hopeful of securing more permits in the coming days.
“We are ready at any moment. If we got the permits now, in 30 minutes we will be there,” Hodaifa Lafi told AFP. “The game has to go ahead.”
She said it was impossible to discuss a date for the second leg until Israel granted more permits.
There was no immediate comment from COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs.
The first leg, played on Sunday in Gaza, ended 1-1.
The West Bank and Gaza are separated by Israel, and Palestinians looking to travel between the two must apply for Israeli permits.
The tournament faces problems every year with permits for players to leave the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which Israel has kept under crippling blockade for more than a decade.
The cup did not take place for 15 years largely over problems with Israeli permits, but resumed in 2015 after world football body FIFA intervened.
But the Palestinians have since accused FIFA of failing to follow its own rules after it decided to pursue no further action against Israel over football teams based in settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“The way FIFA are dealing with the Israelis is encouraging them to act with impunity,” Shalabi said.


Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

Updated 23 August 2019
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Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

  • Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital

COLOMBO: Trent Boult and Tim Southee led New Zealand’s charge against Sri Lanka on day two of the rain-hit second Test on Friday, with the host skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s offering resistance with a half-century.
Boult took two early wickets in one over after Sri Lanka resumed the day on 85 for two at Colombo’s P. Sara Oval, where the start was delayed due to a wet outfield.
Sri Lanka were 144 for six at lunch with Dhananjaya de Silva, on 32, and Dilruwan Perera, on five, at the crease.
Southee, like Boult, also delivered a double-wicket maiden as the duo put on a superb display of seam bowling under overcast conditions.
Boult got overnight batsman Angelo Mathews caught behind for two to reach a landmark of 250 Test wickets — only the third Kiwi bowler to achieve the feat.
He trapped Kusal Perera lbw for nought after just three balls as Sri Lanka slipped to 93-4 and would have been in further trouble had Boult held on to a simple catch from de Silva off his own bowling a few overs later.
Karunaratne also got a lifeline on 61 when Kane Williamson could not grab a tough chance at short mid-wicket off Ajaz Patel.
But the left-hander, who completed his 23rd Test fifty after resuming the day on 49, soon fell, caught behind off Southee for 65.
Southee struck again in the same over to send Niroshan Dickwella trudging back to the pavilion for nought.
Perera then played out the rest of the session with de Silva.
Medium-pace bowler Colin de Grandhomme and spinner William Somerville took a wicket each on the opening day after Sri Lanka elected to bat first.
Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital.