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Orlando Pirates have confirmed that they have no intentions to boycott their pre-season friendly against Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv. Picture: LEFT SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Orlando Pirates have confirmed that they have no intentions to boycott their pre-season friendly against Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv. Picture: LEFT SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

Orlando Pirates say they have no intention to boycott their preseason friendly against Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv after the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Coalition (BDS) urged them to do so in solidarity with the Palestinians. 

Pirates left for Spain at the weekend. The Sea Robbers will have a preseason camp in Marbella until July 21, facing Maccabi on Thursday before taking on Independiente del Valle two days later. To cap off the tour, Pirates will face UD Las Palmas on July 19.

In a statement on Monday, the team said: “Orlando Pirates’ core functioning is governed by rules. It is to the rules that Orlando Pirates went when confronted with calls to withdraw from playing Maccabi Tel Aviv. There is no cultural boycott or boycott of any form by either the SA government, Fifa or the host country that Orlando Pirates can base its refusal to play against Maccabi Tel Aviv on.

“Heeding a call from any other body would create a conflict within Orlando Pirates that would undermine the club’s values and history irreparably.”

On Friday, BDS, a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality, released a statement calling for Pirates to snub the friendly against Maccabi. BDS argued: “There is nothing ‘friendly’ about playing a team representing apartheid Israel. 

“As South Africans, football fans and solidarity activists against Israeli apartheid, we are calling on Orlando Pirates not to play a friendly match with Maccabi Tel Aviv scheduled for July 13 in Spain,” the organisation said in its statement.

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