NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA on Sunday postponed Israel’s European Championship qualifying match against host country Kosovo.
The decision by the governing body of European football – following the surprise attack by Hamas – adds to the accumulated delay.
UEFA said in a statement on Thursday that the match in Pristina could not take place “because the Israeli authorities do not currently allow their national team to travel abroad”.
Israel is now two games behind in a tight qualifying group where it competes with Switzerland and Romania for the top two spots. Two teams qualify for the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.
Israel was due to host group leader Switzerland in Tel Aviv on Thursday, but that match was postponed on Sunday evening. It will now be played on November 15, although it is unclear whether Israel can safely host matches.
Israel must now play three Euro 2024 qualifying matches during the week-long international break next month, designed for just two matches.
Israel’s home match against Romania on November 18 – scheduled for Jerusalem – promises to be decisive for the final ranking.
The delay in the Kosovo-Israel match could prevent UEFA from participating in the qualifying playoff draw on November 23 as planned.
Israel will make the playoffs even if it finishes third in the qualifying group, as last year it topped a Nations League group in second place.
Israel has never appeared in the final of a European Championship tournament. Israel began playing in the competition as a member of UEFA during qualifying for Euro 1996.
AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer