The Palestinian FA’s motion to suspend the Israeli FA from FIFA until certain conditions are met has been formally submitted. FIFA President Blatter has openly said that he does not want it to succeed, but seems to have accepted that he cannot avoid the motion being put.
However, the Israelis have different ideas. Israeli FA chairman Ofer Eini, CEO Rotem Kamer and attorney Efraim Barak are to meet UEFA President Michel Platini in Switzerland today. Then they will visit FIFA. There, Ynetnews reports, they will “examine ways to prevent the FIFA congress from voting on suspending Israel from the league or find a way to secure enough votes to delay the Palestinian request“
Eini has rolled out the standard line that politics and sport don’t mix, accusing the Palestinians of introducing politics. This takes real chutzpah as the Israelis make enormous use of sport for political purposes to camouflage their own apartheid style racism.
The Palestinian demand is to be able to play football unhindered and to observe international law. As Rajoub points out in his interview with Middle East Eye in London, his motivation is sport, not politics.
“My responsibility is to promote the ethics and values of the game among our young generations,” he said. “It has nothing to do with politics. What I am trying to do is separate completely football and politics. Sport is a tool to bridge gaps, to build bridges with all people all over the world.”
RCIR considers that it is important that the Palestinian motion is debated. It addresses repression that is directly the responsibility of the Israeli FA and also repression by governmental authorities in which the Israeli FA is deeply complicit. Suspension of the Israeli FA will concentrate the mind of the Israeli government in a way which few other activities can.
Above all, it is morality and sportsmanship at stake. FIFA cannot avoid taking action.