THE PALESTINIAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (PFA) FORMALLY SUBMITS A RESOLUTION TO FIFA DEMANDING THE SUSPENSION OF THE ISRAEL FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (IFA) .
Press Release by the Red Card Israeli Racism campaign.
On 20 March 2015 the PFA submitted its resolution to be considered at the 28-29 May FIFA Annual Congress in Zurich. The full text has not yet been published, but it calls for the suspension of the IFA from FIFA until certain conditions are satisfied, including:
- Players, staff and officials can move freely into, out of and within Palestine; football equipment can be imported without hindrance.
- Football facilities can be developed in Palestine without hindrance.
- Football clubs established in the illegal settlements in the West Bank are banned from playing in IFA competitions.
- The IFA takes firm action to eliminate racist and apartheid practices from its own leagues.
These conditions address long-standing grievances. The PFA has supported initiatives by FIFA over the last almost two years to address them. Regrettably, the PFA’s attempts to work with the FIFA Task Force have been undermined by Israel and have come to naught. As a result, strong pressure in the form of suspension of the IFA is needed to help bring about the necessary change.
A PFA report on signing the resolution is, in Arabic: http://www.pfa.ps/index.php/news/et7ad-news/1789-2015-03-20-18-38-46.html.
UEFA taking sides against the PFA?
A recent web report quotes UEFA’s Platini as advising the IFA to enlist diplomatic channels to thwart the PFA motion at the FIFA Congress. Such actions would contravene FIFA’s Statutes on the independence of national football associations from the influence of third parties. Surely Platini cannot recommend undermining one of football’s basic principles?
Israel continues to perpetrate its devastating military occupation of Palestinian territories, to flout international law, disregard UN resolutions, kill and maim innocent civilians and imprison Palestinians without charge. Full details on the impact on sports and football in particular are given in the PFA blog: Israeli Occupation Transgressions against Palestinian Sports.
The IFA to all extents and purposes is a State institution – it reports to the State Comptroller and is financed in part by the State. A 2009 declaration in the Knesset clarifies that the IFA is an “organ of the State”. Therefore it is complicit in the actions of the Israeli civil and military authorities and so breaches FIFA’s Statute 3, which prohibits racist actions punishable by suspension or expulsion. However, regardless of such technicalities, FIFA has the moral duty to take a stand against Israeli repression.
South African precedent.
From 1964 to 1992 South African Football Association was excluded from FIFA membership. Several prominent South African leaders who experienced apartheid in South African including Archbishop Tutu state that Israeli apartheid is far worse than South African apartheid ever was and that Israel is guilty of far more serious crimes against humanity.
The President of the Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, recently declared his commitment to tackling the “illegal Israeli practices” hindering Palestinian soccer. Frederic Kanoute and about 50 other prominent footballers had earlier expressed their concern over Israel’s hosting of the 2013 UEFA under 21 finals tournament, and he was joined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ken Loach and other leading humanitarians. There were similar objections to Israel’s 2014 proposal for Jerusalem to be a host city for the 2020 Euro competition, which was rejected by the UEFA administration, partly due to our campaign’s intervention.
Red Card Israeli Racism campaign
For four years we have campaigned for the rights of Palestinian football. We fully endorse the PFA’s proposal to suspend the IFA until certain important conditions have been satisfied. For further information see our website: Red Card Israeli Racism or contact Geoff Lee on +44 7785 311 058 or Kenny Fryde on +44 1223 503 182