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Israel, Rome tussle over soccer player

ROME (JTA) — Controversy has erupted over the acquisition of an 18-year-old Israeli player by Rome’s Lazio soccer team.

Eyal Golasa’s signing with Lazio was announced Sunday, but his Israeli team, Maccabi Haifa, says it still has him under contract until next year and has brought the affair to the attention of FIFA, the international soccer federation.

Media reports said Golasa signed a 4 1/2-year contract with Lazio and joined the team without Maccabi’s knowledge. They quoted Golasa as saying he signed the contract with Maccabi when he was still a minor, and since he turned 18 in October it is no longer legally binding.

After arriving in Rome, Golasa toured the city’s historic Ghetto neighborhood, stopping to visit the city’s main synagogue and Jewish Museum.

Italian sportswriters, meanwhile, noted that Golasa might run into trouble with some of Lazio’s fans, who include a far-right fringe group that has used racist and anti-Semitic slogans.

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