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Yemen sacks national chess team for Israel game

After taking part in Belarus World Chess Olympics

Yemeni Sports Minister Hamud Mohammed Ubad has dismissed the Yemeni national chess team for playing against Israel in an international tournament, a government website said late on Tuesday.

The team was participating in the World Chess Olympics in Belarus when it played their Israeli opponents, the official September 26 Net website said.

The minister also banned the Yemeni players who played against the Israelis in Minsk from representing their country again in the future.

"This was an individual action contrary to the policy of Yemen, which refuses any normalization with Israel," Ubad said, adding that players of any sport must withdraw if they are drawn against Israelis.

Ubad said the Yemeni players had now withdrawn from the tournament and were returning home.

The Yemeni committee against normalization with Israel expressed indignation that the team had been drawn against the Jewish state

Yemen is a member of the World Chess Federation, ranking the 89th in a list of 154 countries. Israel is ranked the 5th.

Some Arab sports teams have cancelled participation in international championships in the past because of Israel's participation.