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Israeli player with Dutch soccer team barred from entering UAE

Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:55 AM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Dan Mori, a defender with Dutch soccer club Vitesse, has been barred from the United Arab Emirates because he has an Israeli passport, an official says.

The premier division team is training in the UAE for the second half of the season, DutchNews.nl reported Monday.

Esther Bal, a Vitesse spokeswoman, said UAE had given the team assurances Mori would be allowed to enter the country, but the guarantee was withdrawn the day before the team was due to travel.

Bal said canceling the trip was not an option because "the interests of the team are paramount."

"Mori said so himself," Bal added. "And as a football club, we steer clear of politics and religion."

Vitesse should raise the issue with FIFA, the sport's world governing body, said Esther Voet of the Dutch Israeli information center CIDI. She noted UAE's regional neighbor Qatar, also a Muslim country, will host the World Cup in 2022.

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