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Thu 9 Jan 2014 11:37 AM

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UAE denies reports Israeli footballer was refused entry visa

Embassy authorities say no visit request was made for Dan Mori, who plays for Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem

UAE denies reports Israeli footballer was refused entry visa
Vitesse Arnhems Israeli player Dan Mori. (Getty Images)

Authorities in the UAE have denied that a Dutch football club’s request for a visa for an Israeli player was turned down prior to a visit to the Gulf state.

Vitesse Arnhem, currently second in the Dutch professional football league, claimed that it had been told by the UAE foreign ministry that defender Dan Mori would not be permitted to attend a mid-season trip to Abu Dhabi.

The UAE and Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations and Israeli passport holders are prohibited from entering the Gulf country.

Vitesse is in the UAE for a training camp and to play exhibition matches against two German sides. A spokesperson for the team claimed that they had initially been told that Mori would be allowed to enter the country as he was an athlete, before claiming that this decision had been reversed.

However, a statement on the website of the UAE embassy in The Hague claimed otherwise. “The embassy has followed - with interest - in the media the issue of the Dutch soccer team visit to the UAE,” it read.

“The embassy would like to categorically confirm that there was no application or request made to us for this visit.”

There is only one recent precedent of Israeli athletes being permitted to enter a Gulf country. Last October, swimmers from the country were allowed to compete in the Swimming World Cup in Qatar, although images of the Israeli flag were omitted.