Romanian school children react before the UEFA EURO 2024 group I qualification round match between Romania and Andorra in Bucharest, Romania, 15 October 2023. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT

Police on Alert as Kosovo Hosts Israel for Euro 2024 Qualifier

Kosovo Police have vowed to keep order when the country hosts Israel on November 12 as part of qualifiers for the EURO 2024 football championship in a match that was earlier postponed due to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Kosovo Police on Wednesday said they will take measures to maintain order when Pristina’s Fadil Vokrri stadium hosts Israel’s national team on November 12 in a match to qualify for the EURO 2024 football championship, which will be held in Germany.

“Kosovo Police … has foreseen undertaking security measures for general security before, during and after the match,” the police told BIRN, “so that this sporting event goes as smoothly as other sport events.”

The match was scheduled for October 15 but was delayed by Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, because “the Israeli authorities currently do not allow their national team to travel abroad”.

That decision came after Hamas fighters launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, killing over a thousand people and seizing hundreds of hostages, after which Israel declared “war” on the Islamist organisation.

The Israeli team sits third in Group I with 11 points. Romania leads the group with 16 points and Switzerland is second with 15 points. Kosovo sits in fourth place with seven points.

As protests against the killing of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli forces have erupted in many regional cities, on Wednesday the Kosovo team’s official fan group, Dardanians, (Dardanët) issued a statement reminding fans “not to allow any mistakes”.

The group said that, “due to the sensitivity of the situation”, they have been instructed by Police to have personalized tickets.

“From the start to the end, it should be only a sports match because there is no and should be no other aim,” the fan group said.

“For the sake of our interests as a country and as a national team, we have to try for a correct cheering and focus energies on ourselves, namely to encourage our football players take a positive result,” it added.

The first qualifying match between Israel and Kosovo, played in Tel Aviv on March 25, ended in a 1:1 draw.

08/11/2023 - 20:08

08 November 2023 - 20:08

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