The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has confirmed that Israel will host the 2013 European Under-21 Championship, despite mounting pressure following the detainment of three ‘Palestinian’ football players, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
UEFA President Michel Platini wrote to Israel Football Association President Avi Luzon on Monday to confirm the country will hold the 2013 tournament from June 15-28 despite ''a certain amount of pressure being put on us.''
''UEFA is an apolitical organization and your association earned the right to host this competition through a fair, democratic vote,'' Platini wrote. ''I am sure that it will be a beautiful celebration of football that, once again, will bring people together.''
On Monday, football player Mahmoud Sarsak agreed to end a hunger strike in return for his freedom.
Last week, Palestine Football Association President Jibril Rajoub urged UEFA to remove Israel as host.
Platini also wrote a letter to Rajoub arguing that the Israel Football Association cannot be held responsible for the actions of other authorities.
''Avi Luzon is an open man who values dialogue but, as you know, he has no decision-making power in this matter and he cannot be held responsible for anything whatsover in this regard,'' Platini wrote.
Platini also said he was surprised to read in the media about a letter Rajoub had written to him regarding Sarsak's situation, noted the AP.
''I must just say that I consider it unfortunate and misplaced to make a letter public before it has even reached the person to who it is addressed,'' Platini wrote. ''I think you were ill advised on the approach to take.''