Why do Israeli teams play cups in Europe under UEFA

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Why do Israeli teams play cups in Europe under UEFA

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Maccabi Haifa will be Fiorentina 's next opponent in the round of 16 of the Conference League , a situation that has raised the perplexity of many people. The Israeli club participates in the third European competition , the latest created in chronological order, but how is it possible?

In fact, Israel is geographically not located in Europe , but on the Asian continent. A paradox, given that he has been playing European cups on a regular basis for over twenty years. The answer lies in some conflicts that arose in the middle of the century, when the national team participated in the Asian Football Confederation . In 1974, due to the Arab-Irish conflict, several teams refused to face it, creating a huge rift.

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That was precisely the year of great change, in which the split occurred that led the Israeli national team and its teams to migrate from Asia to Europe. In 1968 the national team won the Asian Cup , the only trophy in its entire history, but some teams had refused to play it . Among these were Kuwait and North Korea , which six years later officially asked for Israel's exclusion from the Asian Football Confederation.

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The request was accepted by the leaders of the federation who put it to the vote: with 17 in favor, 13 against and 6 abstentions, the Israeli teams were expelled from the AFC, without yet having a new location. From that moment on, various paths opened up and for a period Israel even participated in the European and Oceania qualifying phases , in a limbo that seemed to have no end.

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The first participation in the cups under the hegemony of UEFA, practically the situation we know today, dates back only to 1991 , several years later after the expulsion from the AFC due to conflicts on Asian territory. Full membership of the new federation came three years later, in 1994, when Israel was able to play in the USA 1994 World Cup qualification.

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