Which football (soccer) teams withdrew from the World Cup finals or qualifications because they refused to play against Israel?
#87713. Asked by author. (Oct 24 07 7:40 PM)
The 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification was the first time FIFA decided to divide the teams into several continental zones, assign a pre-determined number of places in the final tournament to each zone, and delegate the organization of the qualifying tournaments to its confederations.
Israel won the African and Asian zone without playing due to withdrawals of their opponents (Turkey, Indonesia, and Sudan).
However, FIFA also imposed a rule that no team would qualify without playing at least one match because many teams qualified for previous World Cups without playing due to withdrawals of their opponents. Because Israel won the African and Asian zone under this circumstance, FIFA required them to enter a play-off against a team from Europe who initially did not qualify, with the winner of this play-off qualifying. Therefore, effectively in the end, a total of 11.5 places were granted to Europe while only 0.5 places were granted to Africa and Asia.
So a special play-off was created between Israel and the runner-up of one of the UEFA Groups, where the teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis, with the winner qualifying. After Belgium declined, Wales, the runner-up ofUEFA Group 4, was the lucky team drawn from the UEFA group runners-up.
Therefore, no teams from Africa or Asia qualified.
I'm sure this is not the only instance of teams withdrawing because they refuse to play against Israel, but it seems to be the most notable.
Recently, Ashkan Dejagah, who plays for Bundesliga club VfB Wolfsburg (Germany), asked his national team managers to withdraw him from Germany's European Championship qualifier against Israel, to be played in Tel Aviv on Friday, citing "personal reasons." (He, being of predominately of Iranian decent, did not wish to play against Israel).
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