Furthet attempt by the Israelis to head off the Palestinian suspension motion at the FIFA Congress

Furthet attempt by the Israelis to head off the Palestinian suspension motion at the FIFA Congress

There are a number of reports of a second visit by Israelis to FIFA on 6 May to try and avoid the PFA motion being debated.  Israeli
FA presses Blatter in effort to avert suspension | Daily Mail Online
. The first visit was on 20 April.

A report by US media group Fusion summarises the response. http://fusion.net/story/132371/palestine-proposal-kick-is-real-out-of-fifa/  Crucially, Blatter is quoted as noting that “any member association that is fulfilling its statutory duties should not be suspended. This would also apply to the IFA as long as they fulfil such duties.”  The Washington post also summarised the position, see below the Fusion article.

Fusion reports:

“Contrary to what FIFA said Wednesday in a widely reported press release, there are no plans for a meeting between the Palestinian Football Association and the Israeli Football Association, the PFA has confirmed to Fusion.

The announced meeting comes in the wake of a PFA proposal that would expel Israel from the international soccer body during this month’s FIFA Congress, but the PFA “[doesn’t] want to meet with the IFA” and said a potential meeting “would be another photo session with smiles and handshakes while our footballers continue to suffer.”

Restrictions over the free movement of players and essential equipment are the main contentions of the PFA’s proposal, which is on the agenda the May 28-29 congress. The proposal also claims that Israel has systematically interfered with the PFA’s ability to operate, in violation of FIFA statutes that say: “Each member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”

Palestine may not be recognized as a country in the United Nations, but it is granted full autonomy with its FIFA membership.

In Wednesday’s release, FIFA states, “A meeting between the Presidents of the IFA and PFA is scheduled to take place in Zurich in the next few days.” But when I emailed PFA spokesperson Susan Shabali to confirm the meeting and ask a few questions about the proposal, she said the PFA was “surprised by the statement” and that “it was on the website of FIFA even before [the PFA] got the invitation letter.”

Bluntly, she told me there are no current plans for a meeting.

“The fact of the matter is not that we don’t want to meet with the IFA. We’ve met with them many times before, and are still ready to do so, but only if they come with guarantees that can solve the issues in the proposal,” she said.

It’s not the first time such a proposal has been brought to FIFA. In 2013, the PFA introduced it in the 63rd FIFA Congress held in Mauritius. Last year, they brought it up at the 64th Congress in Sao Paolo, but PFA President Jibril Rajoub eventually agreed to drop it.

This time, the PFA will not back down, Rajoub told Reuters in a recent interview.

“A year ago I agreed to drop the proposal, I will not do that again,” Rjoub explained. “The aggression towards our sportsmen and women in the West Bank and Gaza continues. It is hostile and racist and the time has come to take action.”

The proposal, which is now on the official agenda of the Congress, would need approval from three-fourths of the 209-member body to pass. Rajoub told Reuters he is confident the organization has the support of Europe, Africa and Asian countries.

If FIFA were to suspend or expel Israel, the country’s soccer teams and clubs would be barred from playing in FIFA-sanctioned international events. The venue of an upcoming European women’s under-19 championship would have to be moved out of the country.

For Israel’s part, IFA chairman Ofer Eini called the proposal “a flagrant move that seeks to mix politics with sport —  something that is completely contrary to FIFA’s vision.” Wednesday’s meeting with FIFA President Sepp Blatter was a part of the organization’s efforts to “prevent the possibility of a vote,” he added.

FIFA’s Wednesday statement reiterated president Sepp Blatter’s position that “any member association that is fulfilling its statutory duties should not be suspended. This would also apply to the IFA as long as they fulfil such duties.”

Shabali, the PFA’s spokesperson, says she hopes the IFA will agree to settle the longstanding issues listed in the proposal — otherwise another meeting between the two sides would be pointless.”

The text of the Washington Post report is as follows:


JERUSALEM — The latest round of the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians appears to be playing out on the soccer pitch.
Three weeks before a meeting in Zurich of soccer’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Palestinian Football Association is attempting to garner support for a motion to suspend the Israeli Football Association. The Palestinians say it is because of restrictions the Israeli authorities regularly place on games and players in the Palestinian territories.However, while Israeli and Palestinian political leaders seem unlikely to meet for peace talks anytime soon, it is possible that in the coming days the heads of the two soccer associations will come face to face to prevent a crisis in international soccer.On Wednesday, after a meeting with the chairman of the Israeli association, Ofer Eini, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he would try to bring the Israeli and Palestinian chairmen together to find a solution before the soccer governing body’s congress at the end of the month.

Earlier this week, Eini sent a letter to the 209 heads of associations in FIFA accusing the Palestinians of mixing politics and sport. He wrote that the Israeli association is in an unjustified situation “without having done anything that contravenes FIFA regulations, without having hurt any other FIFA member and without violating the rules of the game.”

[Fans love underdogs, but few face greater odds than the Palestinian soccer team]

According to the chairman of the Palestinian association, Jibril Rajoub, however, Palestinian attempts to blacklist Israel in international soccer stem from the obstacles placed by Israel on the development of the sport in the Palestinian territories.

From the hosting of international teams, even for friendly matches, to the transfers of players between leagues and even the acquisition of sporting equipment, Palestinian soccer is never free from Israeli harassment, Rajoub said in a recent interview with the online news outlet al-Monitor.

Despite this, Palestinian soccer is growing stronger. In 2014, the Palestinian team reached its highest ranking, with FIFA listing it as the 85th best in the world. This year, for the first time, the team earned a place in the Asian Football Confederation’s Asian Cup, the most important competition for Asian teams after the World Cup.

[How Israeli soccer hooligans fanned flames of hate]

Attempts last year to resolve the Palestinian Football Association’s problems with Israel have failed and promises by the Israelis to ease up on restrictions never materialized, Rajoub said in an interview with the news agency Reuters.

Rajoub, a member of the ruling Fatah party in the West Bank, claims he has broad support among FIFA members for the motion to suspend Israel, which would prevent the country’s team from participating in international matches. The proposal needs a three-quarters majority to pass.

“I don’t think anything will change in the next few weeks. We are close to crossing the bridge and no one can stop us having the proposal on the agenda, even if some people would rather it was not,” said Rajoub, according to Reuters.

the situation.

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