Reuters: Palestinian Soccer Team Plays First Match in Ramallah; Ready for Statehood
(Reuters) - Palestine celebrated their first official match on home soil on Wednesday during a bittersweet evening when their Under-21 side lost an Olympic Games qualifier to Thailand 6-5 on penalties.
The fixture was viewed by Palestinians as another symbolic step towards confirming their credentials for the state they intend to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“This is another occasion on which we can show we are a state, every time I come here it makes me proud,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told Reuters at the Faisal Husseini stadium.
Needless to say, if fielding a sports team or hosting a stadium or competing in international matches replaced the political institutions, legal framework, and economic viability necessary for independent sovereignty, Catalonia, New Caledonia, and the Faeroe Islands would also be “credentialed” for statehood.
We do however, like this tidbit:
Until October 2008, when they hosted Jordan in a friendly international at Al-Ram, Palestine played all their matches abroad because soccer’s world governing body FIFA deemed the Palestinian territories unsafe to host visiting teams.