Thuram opens West Bank stadium

French football icon Lilian Thuram inaugurated a brand new international stadium in the West Bank today by kicking off the Palestinian cup final.

Thuram, a hero of France's 1998 FIFA World Cup™ victory, wound up a four-day visit to the West Bank by taking the first kick in the first division championship final between Al Bireh and Wadi Al Nees.

The 9,000-capacity stadium at Al Bireh, on the outskirts of the West Bank political and economic centre of Ramallah, was built at a cost of €1million ($1.45 million) funded by France, Germany, the United Nations, FIFA and the Al Bireh municipality.

Founder of a foundation for "education against racism", Thuram has met football-crazy Palestinian youngsters in the West Bank towns of Jericho, Hebron and Ramallah as well as east Jerusalem during his stay, organised by the Palestine Football Association and the French consulate general in Jerusalem.