Foreign minister would have helped Vitesse over Mori’s UAE ban

Foreign minister Frans Timmermans would have gladly helped Arnhem football club Vitesse in its efforts to get an Israeli player permission to join the club’s winter training camp in Abu Dhabi, he said on Tuesday.

Speaking from Cuba, where he is on a three-day visit, Timmermans said: ‘If my help was asked for on time, I would have done what I could to make it possible for [Dan] Mori to travel.’

Vitesse was told by the UAE on Saturday defender Mori was not welcome because of his Israeli passport. The club says it had been given earlier assurances Mori would be allowed in and decided not to call off the trip because it would interfere with the training.

Football association

The Dutch football association KNVB said on Monday that it wanted to keep out of politics, but on Tuesday issued a more strongly worded statement following criticism from politicians.

‘We are, of course, angry Mori was refused entry to the UAE because of his nationality,’ the statement said. ‘Football connects people from different lands, cultures and religions.’

The KNVB now plans to discuss further steps with Vitesse when the club returns to Arnhem, Nos televisions said. The club is unwilling to create too many waves while it remains in the UAE, the KNVB said.

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