Northern Ireland to go ahead with Israel friendly despite political calls to cancel

Steve Davis of Northern Ireland during the international friendly against New Zealand
Image: Northern Ireland are due to play Israel in a friendly in September

Northern Ireland will press ahead with a Belfast friendly against Israel amid calls from a political party to cancel September’s game due to violence on the Gaza border.

Sinn Fein MLA Sinéad Ennis made her request directly to Irish Football Association chief executive Patrick Nelson at a meeting on Wednesday, citing "the indiscriminate slaughter and ongoing discrimination against Palestinians".

"I am calling on the IFA to cancel this match and send out a strong signal that the slaughter of Palestinians in the open-air prison which is Gaza, is completely unacceptable," she said.

However, an IFA spokesperson has told Sky Sports News they have "no intention" of cancelling the game.

Northern Ireland supporters spokesperson Gary McAllister added: "As a supporters' organisation, we have consistently encouraged fans to leave their political views outside the stadium and to focus on supporting our national team.

"We maintain that viewpoint and we look forward to welcoming the Israeli team and fans to Belfast."

Earlier this week Argentina withdrew from a World Cup warm-up match in Jerusalem following protests against Israel's treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.

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