Barcelona news

Barca 'peace tour' to Israel, West Bank

August 1, 2013
By ESPN staff

Barcelona will visit Israel and the West Bank at the weekend on what is being described as a “peace tour”.

Lionel Messi celeb Barcelona v Athletic
APMessi is likely to be among the players involved in workshops during the visit.

The visit will begin on Saturday afternoon when Barca arrive in Israel only hours after having played a friendly against Brazilian club Santos at the Camp Nou.

Players, likely to include star names Lionel Messi and Neymar, will lead football coaching events for Israeli and Palestinian children.

They will also meet both the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem.

At the Dura Stadium near the Palestinian city of Hebron, workshops and mini-games will take place on Saturday. On the following day, around 12,000 children are expected to attend a similar event at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.

Barcelona said the proceeds of their visit would be "donated to the promotion of peace between Israelis and Palestinians through the values of sport".

The "peace tour" was first announced in February, when Barca president Sandro Rosell said he hoped a match between Barcelona and an Israeli-Palestinian team could be arranged – an idea that foundered after Palestinian FA chairman Jibril Rajoub voiced objections.

In a statement released earlier this year, the club said it was committed to continuing an "ongoing effort to bring peace to the area".

In 2005, Barcelona beat a joint Israeli-Palestinian team 2-1 in a peace match at the Camp Nou, with Real Madrid playing a similar fixture, and winning 8-0, at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv two years later.

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