Israelis, Palestinians hold first football talks

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Israelis, Palestinians hold first football talks

ZURICH - FIFA President Sepp Blatter hopes to have a solution by the end of the year to the problem of Israeli security restrictions affecting Palestinian football, after holding talks with the two sides on Tuesday.

Blatter said after hosting the leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian football associations that they agreed to send delegates to a follow-up meeting this month to specify an “inventory” of problems between them.

The main issue is restricted movement into and out of the West Bank and Gaza for players and officials from Palestinian and visiting teams. FIFA recognizes Palestine as a national team but Israel’s denial of travel visas to players and officials forced the side to forfeit its place in qualification for the 2010 World Cup, and the issue flared again last month when teams from Iraq, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates struggled to arrive for a Palestinian-hosted youth tournament. AP
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