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Brussels refuses to host Belgium's football match with Israel

June 20, 2024 at 12:13 pm

A detailed view of an Israel shirt inside the Israel dressing room prior to the UEFA EURO 2024 Play-Offs semifinal match at Szusza Ferenc Stadion in Budapest, Hungary on March 21, 2024 [David Balogh – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images]

The municipality of Brussels announced on Wednesday that “security” concerns will make it impossible for the Belgian capital to host a football match between the Belgium and Israel national teams. The match is scheduled to take place on 6 September as part of the UEFA Nations League tournament, during which Brussels will also host Belgium’s games against France and Italy.

“The humanitarian and security situation in Gaza and its repercussions force the [council] to inform the Royal Belgian Football Association that it is not possible to organise this match at the Stade Roi Baudouin,” explained the municipality. “Such a match being held in our capital will undoubtedly provoke major demonstrations, compromising the safety of spectators, players, residents and our police forces alike.”

Brussels witnessed a terrorist attack on 16 October last year, coinciding with a football match. Two fans were killed in a shooting incident in the city centre, for which ISIS-Daesh claimed responsibility. After a complete analysis of the current situation by the Brussels City Council and its police department, they have decided that it is not possible to host the match between the Belgian and Israeli national teams.

Belgians opposing Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip have organised demonstrations and sit-ins at universities. Some Belgian universities have partially or completely severed their ties with Israeli institutions.

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