x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Footballer from Israel misses UAE camp

“The UAE does not acknowledge the existence of Israel, so he could not come,” said Esther Bal, the team’s spokeswoman.

Dan Mori of Vitesse could not enter the UAE for a mid-season training camp as ‘the UAE does not acknowledge the existence of Israel’, according to a spokesperson for the team. Photo by VI Images via Getty Images
Dan Mori of Vitesse could not enter the UAE for a mid-season training camp as ‘the UAE does not acknowledge the existence of Israel’, according to a spokesperson for the team. Photo by VI Images via Getty Images

ABU DHABI // The Dutch football team Vitesse has arrived in the UAE for a mid-season training camp but without their Israeli international Dan Mori.

“The UAE does not acknowledge the existence of Israel, so he could not come,” said Esther Bal, the team’s spokeswoman.

The team, who are second in the Eredivisie League, the top division in the Netherlands, thought that defender Mori, who has been capped seven times by his country, would be able to travel, claiming that organisers in the UAE told them an exception would be made.

“Organisers said they got a verbal confirmation that he was welcome to join the team as he was a professional and they could make an exception,” Ms Bal said.

But on Saturday, a day before their scheduled departure from the Netherlands, they were told he would not be able to enter the country. “By that time it was too late to change the team’s plans,” Ms Bal said.

While Mori, 25, has stayed behind to train with the reserves, another player was able to come to the UAE in his place.

The team from Arnhem, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, will be in the UAE until Saturday and will play two matches, against German sides Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

“We will not get involved in politics or religion,” Ms Bal said. “We will all focus on the sport aspect of the trip. We will join Mori next Saturday. He wanted the team to be here in the UAE.”

Last February, the English Premier League team, Swansea City, were told that their Israeli player, Itay Shechter, who now plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv, could not join them for training in Dubai.

The club considered cancelling their mid-season camp, but went ahead with the trip.

osalem@thenational.ae