Brasilia wants to hold friendly game between Sao Paulo’s Corinthians, Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo in Ramallah, with no plans to hold similar game in Israel. Decision said to cause diplomatic tensions between countries
Diplomatic tensions have sparked recently between Israel and Brazil over none other than a soccer match, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.
The Brazilian government decided to extend a gesture to the Palestinian people and hold a friendly game between two of its leading soccer teams – Sao Paulo’s Corinthians and Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo – in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
With famed player Ronaldo as the Corinthians’ striker and Flamengo being one of the world’s top soccer teams, many Israelis would undoubtedly love to attend the game, but the Brazilians have made it clear that they are not interested in playing in Israel – only in the Palestinian Authority.
Giora Bachar, the Israeli ambassador to Brasilia inquired about the reports in the local media with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, which confirmed them.
Bachar filed an official protest with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, but his report to Jerusalem did indicate that the initiative has yet to find a sponsor.
“I intend to make the Brazilians understand that if a similar game is not held in Israel, we will see it as an act of ostracism,” he said. “It would be better off if they held two games, or better still – a joint game for the Israelis and Palestinians.”