Denmark to Play Israel in Tel Aviv Despite Uproar Over Islamic Cartoons

COPENHAGEN Denmark (AP)- Denmark will play Israel in soccer as planned next month despite security concerns stemming from protests over cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad.

Denmark coach Morten Olsen said Tuesday the March 1 exhibition in Tel Aviv will proceed.

Olsen said the Danish soccer federation had been in close contact with the foreign ministries in Denmark and Israel and the Danish intelligence service. Two weeks ago the federation said it was considering canceling the game because of violent protests against Denmark in the Middle East.

"We have made a collective decision to play the game Olsen said.

The team's two main sponsors Arla Foods and the oil company DONG have decided to remove their logos from the players' training uniforms. The game jerseys don't have sponsor logos under FIFA rules.

Arla Foods one of Europe's largest dairy companies has been hit hard by a boycott of Danish products. The boycott started Jan. 26 in Saudi Arabia and has spread to about 20 nations.

DONG has no activities in the Middle East but acted out of solidarity the Danish soccer federation said.

Less than two weeks ago Indonesia canceled a badminton match against Denmark next month because it could not guarantee security.

The drawings including one depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb were first printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September. They have touched a nerve in part because Islam is interpreted to forbid illustrations of the prophet for fear they could lead to idolatry.