UEFA postpones Israel’s game in Kosovo in European qualifying because players cannot travel abroad

NYON – UEFA has postponed Israel’s European Championship qualifying game against host Kosovo on Sunday.

The decision by European soccer’s governing body — following Hamas’ surprise attack — adds to a fixture backlog.

UEFA said in a statement Thursday that the game in Pristina cannot be played “because the Israeli authorities currently do not allow their national team to travel abroad.”

Israel is now two games behind schedule in a tight qualifying group where it is competing with Switzerland and Romania for the top-two spots. Two teams advance to the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

Israel was scheduled to host group leader Switzerland on Thursday in Tel Aviv and that game was postponed late Sunday. It will now be played Nov. 15 though it is unclear if Israel can safely host games.

Israel now is due to play three Euro 2024 qualifiers in the one-week international break next month designed for just two games.

A home game for Israel against Romania on Nov. 18 — intended to be played in Jerusalem — has shaped as decisive for the final standings.

The delayed Kosovo-Israel game could prevent UEFA making the qualifying playoffs draw on Nov. 23 as scheduled.

Israel will go to the playoffs even if it finishes third in the qualifying group because last year it topped a Nations League group in the second tier.

Israel has never played at the finals of a European Championship tournament. Israel started playing in the competition as a UEFA member in Euro 1996 qualifying.

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