Israel bars 10 Gaza players from final


Israel has barred 10 Palestinian footballers from travelling from Gaza to the West Bank to play in Friday's Palestine Cup final second leg, their club said.

Shabaab Rafah are 2-0 up against Ahly al-Khalil of Hebron from Tuesday's first leg in Gaza City but only 15 members of their squad are being allowed to travel for the return leg, club president Khaled Kwaik told AFP.

Those missing include a striker and two of the club's three goalkeepers.

"Banning the goalkeepers will negatively affect the team's performance in the event of an injury to the (remaining) keeper," Kwaik said.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli authorities on why they had prevented the 10 players from leaving Gaza through the Erez crossing.

Despite the bans, the rare game between teams from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will go ahead on Friday, the Palestinian Football Association said.

The two territories are separated by Israel and the Palestinians looking to travel between them must apply for permits from the Jewish state.

West Bank and Gaza teams play in separate leagues, with the winners contesting the cup.

The cup was stopped for 15 years largely due to problems with Israeli permits, but restarted in 2015 after world football governing body FIFA intervened.

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