FIFA to rebuild Gaza stadium destroyed by Israel 29Nov12 November 29, 2012

MEMO-Middle East Monitor   –   28 November 2012

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has pledged that football’s world-governing body will rebuild the Palestine stadium in the Gaza Strip after it was damaged by several Israeli air strikes during the recent war.

“We see it as our duty to rebuild the football infrastructure which has been destroyed,” Valcke was reported as saying on FIFA website.

“We will also rebuild the stadium in Gaza, which has been destroyed.”

“Football brings people together and we will support any re-construction necessary when football infrastructure is destroyed through disasters,” said Valcke, who is in Brazil for the draw of the Confederations Cup.

Israeli fighter jets attacked the Palestine stadium in the Gaza Strip last week, severely damaging an indoor hall and several service buildings. Four large holes were also made on the pitch. Local officials have estimated that the cost of damage to the 10,000-seat stadium could run into millions of dollars.

The Israeli military claimed that the stadium had been used for launching Fajr 5 rockets toward Israeli cities.

“The stadium’s compound was used to launch rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,” a military spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday, referring to an Iranian-made rocket which has a range of up to 75 kilometres (46 miles).

FIFA, a non-political body, had previously supported football development projects in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. In 2006, it pledged to rebuild the Gaza stadium after it was attacked.

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