Neutral venue agreed

Football


The timely intervention of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman helped move the venue of a crucial World Cup qualifying match between Saudi Arabia and Palestine to a neutral venue.

The deputy crown prince called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and discussed the issue with him to avert the crisis.

The Saudi team had informed FIFA it would withdraw from the match against Palestine if it took place in the West Bank, which could have subjected the Saudi team to punishments by the FIFA.

FIFA on Wednesday ordered Palestine to play matches against the Kingdom and Malaysia at neutral venues.

FIFA officials and Palestinian authorities met on Tuesday and “the Palestinian government confirmed that it could no longer guarantee the safety and security around the matches in question,” FIFA said in a statement.

The Palestine-Saudi Arabia match, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 5 will now be played on Nov. 9, while the Palestine-Malaysia match will still be played, as planned, on Nov. 12.


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