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Malaysia: squash championship cancelled over Israeli visa issue

Malaysian Open Squash Men's final match in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August 2014 [MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images]
Malaysian Open Squash Men's final match in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August 2014 [MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images]

The Men's World Team Squash Championship which was scheduled to take place from 7-to 11 December in Kuala Lumpur has been cancelled after Malaysia refused to grant entry visas to players from Israel.

The World Squash Federation (WSF) announced yesterday that it "believes in an open and inclusive" event, and it was forced to cancel "due to the lack of confirmation over the issuing of visas and travel authorisations."

WSF president Zena Wooldridge added that officials have sought to "influence the highest authorities of Malaysia" to ensure the ability of all participating teams, including Israel, to enter Malaysia and compete. "It is important to the WSF that no nation which wishes to compete misses out on the event."

The tournament was moved to Malaysia from New Zealand earlier this year due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Malaysia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations and Israelis are barred from visiting the country.

In a statement issued to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah reiterated the country's "unwavering support and profound solidarity" with the Palestinian people and urged an end to the "repeated violence and aggression perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians" and the "systematic oppression and crimes of apartheid."

Earlier this year, Israel was found by B'Tselem and Human Rights Watch to be imposing an apartheid system on Palestinians. Apartheid is a crime against humanity.

READ: Hamas praises Malaysia for denying visas to Israeli squash players

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