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UEFA Lifts Ban on Matches in Israel

The European Football Union, UEFA, has decided to allow Israeli football clubs to play European matches in Israel again.

However, in lifting the ban put in place during the country's month-long conflict with the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah, UEFA said that matches could be played only around Tel Aviv and required security guarantees. UEFA added that the ban could be re-imposed at any time if security deteriorates.

Friday's decision takes effect immediately, so the September 28 UEFA Cup match between Chornomorets Odessa and Hapoel Tel Aviv can be played in Israel if the security conditions are met.

Israel's first national team home match is scheduled to be its under-21 game against France on October 11. Moshe Sinai, the national team's assistant coach, said the players would get a boost from playing in front of a home crowd again.

The ban on playing European games in Israel was imposed on August 7 due to the Hezbollah conflict, during which rockets were fired into northern Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.