The following leter was sent to all FIFA member associations on 19 May 2015.
Suspension of the Israeli Football Association from FIFA.
Israeli Misrepresentations and Public Support
We have previously written to ask you to support the Palestine Football Association’s proposal for suspension of the Israel Football Association from FIFA.
For its part, the IFA has claimed that the PFA proposal is “a blatant attempt to mix sport with politics” and is dictated by issues unrelated to football. In truth Israeli mixes sport and politics with impunity in its efforts to present itself as a non-racist, “normal” sporting country. We would ask you to consider the following facts
- the IFA regularly endorses its own government’s “security concerns”. The implication is that Palestinian football poses a danger to Israel’s security.
- this fear has never been borne out – for example, last year Sports Minister Livnat accused the detained striker Sameh Maraabe of acting as a clandestine courier for Hamas. He has since been released without charge.
- Haaretz reports that Israeli diplomats have been spreading “incriminating information” about Palestinian footballers. We challenge Israel’s foreign ministry to make their information public and put it to the test.
- Israel’s restrictions continue to stifle the progress of Palestinian football
- Palestinian footballers’ own personal security is under constant threat from Israeli soldiers, settlers and police
We believe that Israel’s “security concerns” are driven by racist paranoia. They also serve to distract attention from the IFA’s racist practices within its own leagues.
As Jibril Rajoub says about the Palestinian approach:“It has nothing to do with politics.” What drives the Palestinians is the need for their human rights to be recognised in football, in the law of the land and in the actions of the Israeli authorities.
In support of the Palestinian approach over 20,000 citizens across about 100 countries have signed a petition calling on FIFA to suspend the Israeli FA. Also eminent human rights advocates from the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign have signed an Open Letter to FIFA delegates to support the Palestinian proposal – see attachment below.
We therefore urge you to take the Palestinian proposal at face value. It has been tabled because two years of negotiations failed to bring about change. Above all the PFA wants the right to play football. Promises and undertakings by the Israelis cannot be trusted. The Israelis must prove themselves as non-racist from a position outside FIFA before they are re-admitted. The PFA must be suspended until the proposal’s conditions are satisfied. For reference, the full text of the PFA’s proposal is given in Attachment 2.
Red Card Israeli Racism campaign
Open Letter to FIFA delegates published in the Guardian newspaper, 16 May 2015
The Palestinian Football Association will present a motion to FIFA’s annual Congress on 28th-29th May, calling for the suspension of the Israeli FA. We urge delegates to pass the motion.
Palestine took to the pitch at January’s Asian Cup to standing ovations from football fans of all nations. Their very appearance at the tournament was a heroic achievement in light of the obstacles faced by the team. No thanks are due to the IFA.
It has stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel’s murderous régime while Palestinian footballers have been shot, beaten, bombed, and incarcerated along with their fellow citizens. And its only response to the day-to-day obstruction of travel, tournaments and the development of facilities has been to repeat the much-abused mantra of “security concerns”.
The IFA welcomes teams from illegal settlements into its leagues and competitions. It has racially segregated part of its national children’s league incurring legal action. It has never once disciplined Beitar Jerusalem FC for that club’s long-standing apparent ban on the hiring of Arab players, or taken serious action to curb the notorious anti-Arab violence of its supporters.
Two years of diplomacy have failed to secure change, and FIFA must now take punitive action in defence of its humanitarian ethos. Its 30-year exclusion of South Africa from its ranks provides a precedent for the action that is required. The lesson, surely, is that there can be no “positive engagement” with apartheid – only principled opposition.
FIFA owes it to all Palestinians to uphold their right to fully access football by supporting the call from the Palestinian FA for suspension of IFA.
Rev. Garth Hewitt
Sir Bob Russell
Salman Abu Sitta
Baroness Jenny Tonge
MOTION SUBMITTED BY THE PALESTINIAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
AT THE 28-29 MAY 2015 FIFA ANNUAL CONGRESS
The FIFA Congress decide to suspend the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA until:
1.1) The Israel Football Association, or Israeli authorities, submit written guarantees to FIFA that it will respect the FIFA statutes by recognizing that the Palestine Football Association is the sole governing body responsible for organizing and supervising football in all of its forms in the territory of Palestine (Article 10-1 of the FIFA Statutes). This warrants that all football activities organized on Palestinian territories by clubs, players and officials affiliated to the Palestine FA can be developed unhindered.
1.2) The following clubs are banned from playing football in competitions organized by the IFA because they are located in the internationally-recognized territory of Palestine and because they participate in these competitions without the FIFA authorization defined as per Article 84 of the same FIFA statutes (as mentioned in the PFA letter to FIFA dated 30 November 2014).
- Hapo’el Bika’at H’Yarden 2nd tier South A league
- Beitar Ironei Ma’ale Adumim 2nd tier South B league
- Beitar Giva’at Ze’iv Shvi 2nd tier South B League
- Beitar Ironei Ariel 5th tier Sharon league
- Alitzur Ironei Yehuda 5th tier south league
1.3) The Israel FA shall fully recognize that the Palestine FA is entitled to enjoy the following rights without any restriction or intervention from the Israeli occupation or any other third party
(i) The right of movement of football people and goods into, out of, and within Palestine including East Jerusalem.
(ii) The right of the PFA to develop football infrastructure and facilities in the territory of Palestine including East Jerusalem.
(iii) The right to import and export sport goods in and out of Palestine.
1.4) The Israel FA shall uphold its obligation to FIFA in taking a stance against discrimination and racism (Article 3 of the FIFA statutes) by taking serious measures against racism and human rights violations within its area of jurisdiction.
After this guarantee will be given to FIFA, a reliable and robust monitoring system would be established by FIFA to ensure the full implementation of these rights based on a memorandum of understanding which will be signed by FIFA, the PFA, the IFA, and witnessed by the AFC and the UEFA.
WHEREAS and finally, the PFA reaffirms solemnly and officially that:
(i) Its only goal is to obtain for the Palestinian football community the same rights defined by the FIFA Statutes and enjoyed by the all other MAs,
(ii) The security considerations cannot constitute the alibi for arbitrary decisions taken without any justification,
(iii) the PFA fully recognizes the authority of the IFA on its football and look forward to mutual recognition in line with the FIFA Statutes,
PFA 19 March 2015