Monday, March 31, 2008

Malaysia May Lift Travel Ban On Chelsea's Israeli Pair

Malaysia on Monday hinted it may lift a travel ban on Israelis to allow Chelsea coach Avram Grant and midfielder Tal Ben Haim to come here on a mini-Asian tour by the English Premier League title contenders.

"I am not sure what the decision would be yet. But it would be a pity that politics should get in the way of sports," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

"There is a travel ban. I will have to study the situation first but I would like to see Chelsea although it is not my (favourite) team, I would like to see them playing here."

Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and its citizens must obtain special permission to travel here.

Chelsea last week said they could be forced to cancel the Malaysian leg of their tour if the Israelis were not allowed into the country.

The Football Association of Malaysia had said tour organisers would raise the issue with the foreign ministry in order to obtain clearance for the pair.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, who announced matches in Malaysia on July 29 and in China tentatively on July 23 in the southern city of Guangzhou, was confident approval would be secured.

But he indicated the London glamour side could be forced to ditch the Malaysian visit if Grant and Ben Haim were banned from entering the country.

"We clearly could not travel without our top coach. This (tour) is a critical part of training for the 2008-2009 season," he told AFP. It will make no sense to travel without a key member of the coaching staff."

Najib backed the rare tour by the Premier League giants, saying it would boost Malaysian football. "It's good for local football, definitely," he said.

Chelsea, who have strong support in Malaysia, are scheduled to play the much-derided national team who have slipped down the rankings to 164 after their heyday in the 1970s.

The incident echoes last year's botched visit by Manchester United, who were forced to call off their trip after the Asian Football Confederation complained it clashed with Malaysia's co-hosting of the Asian Cup.

In 1997, Malaysia allowed Israel to compete in the 22-nation ICC Trophy cricket tournament here but the decision sparked a series of demonstrations in the capital.

***** What a change of view when compared to a few decades ago. In November 1986, Malay fanatics here, totally oblivious to the rules of international relations and diplomacy, fueled by their hatred for Israel and discreetly egged on by Umno, vehemently protested, including threats of suicide, the visit of the then Israeli President Chaim Herzog to neighbouring, sovereign Singapore! It's good to see a little commonsense, rationality and pragmatism at play now.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully Chandra Muzzafar the anti semite whose past time is to villify Israel despite proofs there are no Pali people has an apoplectic fit and is rendered "vegetable". The nasty piece of shit .

5:05 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are Malay fanatics still eating Cadbury Chocs and wearing Levi jeans, all of them owned by Jews?

5:21 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Purple Haze said...

If the coach is not allowed to enter, Chelsea should cancel the Malaysian leg as it is part of its pre-season preparations.

Question really is whether the Malaysian govt will still continue to discriminate anything that has to do with Jews with this instance another episode in trying to make its point.

11:41 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubbish
Thought saw that the deal was staged by a certain very low profile sil when the MU deal fell apart

11:29 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous kunyit said...

if you can let the arabs in, why not let the jews enter too. from my experience, i would rather have the jews have their eye of zion in BB rather than eye of arabia. they are more well behaved than the other semite clans especially the arabs ( including malaysian arabs).

1:48 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why was the coach cannot be with his team when the were having a match?? Since when religion collided against sportmanship? What is wrong with the duo religion and nationality, are they really from Israel? They are JEWs but can they choose not to be born as JEWs? Or are they both had any links with the Isreali government? How saddening Malaysian muslims had become

12:28 AM GMT+8  

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