Palestinian soccer chief urges Messi to boycott Israel

June 3, 2018

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) The head of the Palestinian football federation is calling on Arab and Muslim sports fans to burn photos and T-shirts of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi if he attends a friendly match between Argentina and Israel next weekend.

Jibril Rajoub made the call after a demonstration in front of the Argentinian representative office in Ramallah, where he asked Argentina to cancel the match.

The match is scheduled to be played Saturday at an Israeli soccer stadium in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Malha. The neighborhood is situated on the site of a former Palestinian village destroyed during the war that established Israel 70 years ago.

''Messi. Don't come. Don't whitewash the face of racism,'' Rajoub said.

Israel's football federation says Messi is expected to play at next week's match.