Brussels refuses Belgium-Israel match over expected protests

Staging an upcoming UEFA Nations League match between Belgium and Israel in Brussels would be impossible due to security concerns and likely protests, the municipal government of the Belgian capital said on Wednesday.

“The city of Brussels considers it impossible to organise a Belgium-Israel match in the King Baudouin Stadium,” a statement said.

“After a careful and in-depth analysis, we must conclude today that the announcement of such a match in our capital in these particularly troubled times will undoubtedly lead to large demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, jeopardising the safety of spectators, players, Brussels residents and our police forces.”

The match is scheduled for Sept. 6.

Israel’s war in Gaza has sparked global demonstrations, including in Belgium where pro-Palestinian activists have organised protests and sit-ins at universities, leading to some Belgium universities to partly or wholly sever ties with Israeli institutions.