(JNS.org) The World Championships of the International Flag Football Confederation, set for Aug. 12-15 in Jerusalem, were canceled due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza. The event would have hosted nearly 30 teams and more than 600 athletes from 20 countries.
“We were so close to fulfilling a dream that took about 10 years of hard work to achieve. It was so hard to convince the International Federation of American Football to have the tournament in Israel, but they finally agreed,” said Steve Leibowitz, chairman of American Flag Football in Israel, in a statement.
The tournament would have been “the largest team world championship ever held in Israel in any sport,” according to Leibowitz.
“From the time the fighting began, pressure began to build to move the tournament because teams do not want to come to what they perceive to be a war zone,” he said. “The rockets landing in Israel and specifically rockets aimed at Jerusalem caused great concern among the teams.”
The flag football tournament will instead be held in Grosseto, Italy, from Sept. 11-14.