Frantic efforts by Israelis to avoid debate and a vote at the FIFA Annual Congress

Frantic efforts by Israelis to avoid debate and a vote at the FIFA Annual Congress

Once more, on Sunday 10 May, representatives of the Palestinian FA were summonsed to FIFA to hear about FIFA and Israeli attempts to avoid debate of the Palestinian proposal.  The Palestinians held firm; their proposal had been properly submitted.    FIFA’s Sepp Blatter  has always been clear that he doesn’t want the proposal to be debated.  The Israelis have apparently deployed their full diplomatic power to persuade FIFA Member Associations not to support the proposal:  “a classified message was sent to all Israeli ambassadors, calling for total mobilization”, with diplomats urged to “use their connections, and personal and professional skills in order to draw a line in the sand”.  Since FIFA Statute 13.1.i obliges Member Associations to “manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties”, Israeli efforts are inducing Member Associations to contravene that Statute.

Curiously, the text of the proposal was excluded from the conference papers.  Also, the proposal was not included under agenda item 4, suspension and expulsion of a member, but was included under agenda item 15, “discussion of proposals submitted by members”.  It is formally acceptable for the PFA motion to be included here so it should be put to the vote.  But what back stage manipulations are going on can only be imagined.

Israel is using standard old arguments to counter the Palestinian proposal such as the PFA is being political and Palestinian footballers are implicated in terrorism. They don’t dare to address human rights issues or international law implications of their actions. 

There have been three very good summaries of the position.  On 11 May David Zirin put an article in The Nation http://m.thenation.com/blog/206905-israel-and-palestine-agree-keep-politics-out-soccer; on 13 May Ben White wrote in MEMO https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/18602-israel-fears-fifa-red-card-as-palestinians-campaign-gains-momentum and on 13 May Uri Dan wrote in Haartez  http://www.haaretz.com/life/sports/.premium-1.656175.

 

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