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SBD Global/May 29, 2013/International Football

South African Archbishop Tutu Calls For UEFA To Strip Israel Of U21 Championship

South African anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu has joined calls for UEFA to move the U21 European championship from Israel "because of the Jewish state's treatment of Palestinian sport," according to Mark Meadows of REUTERS. UEFA has resisted the requests, "but Tutu's letter, to Britain's Guardian newspaper, which was also signed by ex-Mali striker Frederic Kanoute and a number of prominent sympathisers of the Palestinian cause, is aimed at increasing the pressure." Last week UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, speaking after the UEFA Congress in London, "refused to condemn Israel or accept that the competition, which runs from June 5-18, should be moved." Infantino: "We have no plans to move the tournament, which is being held legitimately in a UEFA member association." Palestinians complain that Israeli authorities "restrict the movement of their athletes between the Gaza Strip" and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israel limits the movement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank citing security concerns, "but says it has eased travel for athletes" (REUTERS, 5/28). In London, David Feeney wrote the letter calls on UEFA "to reverse the choice of Israel as a venue." Signatories of the letter "include the actor Roger Lloyd Pack, film-maker Ken Loach, comic Alexei Sayle, Michael Mansfield QC and the Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn" (GUARDIAN, 5/27).
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