European Championship August 3, 2006

Threats force Israel game to be scrapped

Cricinfo staff

Israel's cricketers have become victims of the escalating crisis in the Middle East after they were forced to cancel their European Championship game with Jersey, which was due to played at Glasgow Academicals CC today, after they were targetted by the local Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS).

A rather vague press release issued by the European Cricket Council on Wednesday claimed that he match was off because the ground was unavailable.

But in The Jerusalem Post, Stanley Perlman, the president of the Israel Cricket Association, said that Cricket Scotland officials had received anonymous calls on Wednesday warning that the safety of the Israel players could not be guaranteed. He added that Glasgow police had approved a Muslim demonstration at "a Glasgow cricket club field" for approximately 2,000 demonstrators.

"The Scottish Cricket Union has found itself in a situation in which the local cricket clubs are not prepared to host the Israeli teams for fear of a Muslim backlash," Perlman claimed. "The Israeli team has already arrived in Glasgow and has every intention to play. We are not going to bow to Muslim blackmail," and he accused the SCU of "cowardice".

He concluded: "Scotland was given this tournament to host and they have to live up to their commitments."

A Cricket Scotland spokesman admitted to the Glasgow Daily Record: "We're in a mess. Strathclyde Police have been involved since it became clear that Israel's participation would potentially attract large numbers of protesters. The police surveyed all the venues in the west of Scotland and decided that Glasgow Accies' was the only one where they could safely police a large-scale demonstration."

"It is unthinkable for the Israeli cricket team to play in our backyard while these acts of aggression continue to take place," Faisal Hanjra, head of FOSIS, told Reuters. "We plan to protest unless the proposed match is cancelled."

Israel are next due to play on Saturday and Sunday at the same venue.