Vitesse Arnhem Israeli player Dan Mori(right)trains in Arnhem on January 6, 2014
Vitesse Arnhem Israeli player Dan Mori(right)trains in Arnhem on January 6, 2014 © Michael Kooren - ANP/AFP/File
Vitesse Arnhem Israeli player Dan Mori(right)trains in Arnhem on January 6, 2014
AFP
Last updated: January 6, 2014

Israeli defender Mori to miss Arnhem's Emirati camp

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The Dutch football club Vitesse Arnhem's Israeli defender Dan Mori will miss his club's winter training camp in the United Arab Emirates after being refused an entry visa, media reported Monday.

The UAE does not recognise the state of Israel and the 25-year-old Mori, capped seven times for the Israeli national team, was forced to stay in the Netherlands after his clubmates flew into Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

"I'm proud of what I am," Mori wrote on his Facebook page. "I'm training in the Netherlands. I wish you all a great week."

Vitesse's decision to go ahead with their camp without Mori, who has been with the club since August 2012, was roundly criticised at home.

Christian-Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt, quoted by local media, reckoned the club had "lost its soul by admitting the situation and going to Abu Dhabi".

Nationalist deputy Geert Wilders, who reputedly enjoys close links to Israel, said the club's decision was tantamount to "accepting anti-Semitism".

The Federation for Jews in the Netherlands expressed "its outrage that Vitesse tolerate discrimination towards one of its players" and called on the Dutch football federation (KNVB) to take a stand.

The KNVB, however, said it did not want to get involved in the matter, according to the ANP news agency.

Vitesse coach Peter Bosz, also quoted by ANP, voiced regret that his player couldn't be part of the camp, but added: "Whatever politicians have said, that goes over my head... I'm just doing my job, I'm a football coach."

In the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, Eredivisie joint leaders Vitesse will play friendlies against two German Bundesliga clubs, Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

Although the UAE and Israel do not enjoy diplomatic relations, tennis players Shahar Peer and Andy Ram have both taken part in the WTA and ATP events in Dubai in recent years, albeit with vastly ramped-up security details.

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