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Friday, July 25, 2014

Maccabi Haifa soccer players attacked in Austria

Turkish 'protesters' stormed the soccer pitch and attacked Maccabi Haifa players during an exhibition match against a French team in Austria on Thursday night. The Maccabi players had to be escorted off the field by police in what was supposed to have been a 'friendly' match.
The protesters, who were holding up Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags and were reportedly of Turkish origin, stormed the field as the game against the French soccer team Lille was going on. They proceeded to spit at, curse and kick the Israeli players. Some of the players retaliated, leading to a brawl on the field.
No one was injured, and the Haifa players were taken off the field by police officers and instructed to remain in the locker room until things calm down.
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat reacted to the incident and said, “This is a dangerous and seemingly pre-planned incident, and we must not ignore it.”
Maccabi Haifa said in a statement following the incident, "We experienced an unpleasant experience of violence on the field and in the stands. We as a club call for co-existence and patience but this attack was planned and dangerous in light of the incitement in the Turkish media.”
“We deplore the violence against us, we came to play soccer and we are sorry that this how the game ended, but this did not happen because of the sport and because of soccer, but because we are a group representing Israel.”

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