The campaign has issued a Press Release highlighting two major areas of concern: (1) FIFA’s attempts to weaken the role of the agreed Monitoring Group, (2) FIFA’s omission of two key items specified by the Palestinian FA in its Amendment
FIFA Congress 2015: grave abuses of procedure
Three weeks after FIFA’s Congress in Zürich, concerns are deepening over the handling of the Palestine Football Association’s motion to the annual assembly.
BDS activists believe that, on the day of the Congress, FIFA’s leadership suppressed and misrepresented the content of the PFA’s amended proposal so as to promote the interests of the Israel FA. They say that FIFA is now circulating a false account of the decision taken by the Congress with regard to Israel/Palestine.
The specific allegations are as follows:
- The PFA provided a written amendment to its original proposal (appended below) dropping the demand for suspension of the IFA but re-stating its demand for free movement, investigation of racist practices by the IFA, and resolution of the matter of clubs from West Bank settlements – all to be monitored by a group of international observers.
- The text of this amendment was handed to Mr Blatter as Congress Chair.
- Jibril Rajoub spoke outlining the content of the amendment, but the actual text was never read out or otherwise made available to the assembled delegates as is mandated by the Standing Orders of FIFA Congress.
- Instead, after Gen Rajoub sat down a very different text (appended below) was displayed on the giant overhead screen in the Congress chamber, under the heading “15.1 Proposal by the Palestinian Football Association for the suspension of the Israel Football Association” and the sub-heading “Suggested Solutions”.
- The on-screen text in fact comprised a set of proposals that Israel had made some days previously. It was not explained or referred to by Mr Blatter, and an impression was thus created that it was the text of the amendment under consideration.
- This impression was strengthened when Mr Eini of the IFA spoke. He stated candidly that the on-screen text was “our proposal” and that, if it was this that was now being proposed to Congress, he would support it. The latter supposition was not contradicted by Mr Blatter.
- the on-screen text concerned the issues of movement, tax exemption for donated equipment and the development of facilities. Implementation was to be overseen by a working group and/or monitoring group plus the Israeli Sports Minister. The investigation of racist practices and the status of clubs based in West Bank settlements was not mentioned.
- Mr Blatter declared that the appointment of a “monitoring committee” was the most important part of the PFA’s amended proposal, and announced that it would comprise three people representing FIFA, the IFA and PFA – this matched the on-screen text’s “three-party working group” far more closely than the PFA demand for “a multi-lateral monitor group… [to] be composed of International Observers.”
- Mr Blatter also assured the Congress that the various concerns raised by the PFA would be addressed by the “monitoring committee”, and specifically mentioned the issue of clubs based in disputed territories.
- Mr Blatter repeatedly stated that it was the PFA’s amended proposal that was being put to the vote.
- Since 29/05/15 RCIR has asked FIFA to publish the PFA amendment passed by Congress, or at least forward a copy, and to confirm that it will form the basis of all future work. FIFA have now replied (email appended) stating merely that the Congress agreed to establish a monitoring committee, and that it will “assess the implementation of the measures that were previously agreed.” The email then lists the Israeli proposals that appeared on-screen at the Congress – these have never been agreed by anyone. Once again, the investigation of racist practices and the status of clubs based in West Bank settlements is not mentioned.
An RCIR spokesperson comments that “FIFA’s leaders appear to have practised organized deception upon their own Congress – so much for Blatter’s pledge to root out misconduct. Any advantage that accrues to Israel will be shortlived – the movement for Palestinian sporting rights is far too strong to be deflected by a ruse.”
Video footage of the FIFA Congress agenda item 15.1 can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpiVLm6gxVo.
For further information, please use the contact page on this website.
Appendix 1 – PFA Amendment
May 29, 2015
Amendment to the Proposal Presented by the Palestine Football Association
for Approval During the 65th FIFA Congress
In order to end the suffering and discrimination of our Palestinian football family at the hands of the illegal and racist occupation of our land, we have presented a proposal for a final solution. After several meetings with Mr. Blatter, Mr. Valkce, and representatives from different confederations and associations, with the aim to facilitate the feasibility and implementation of our proposal, we have made the following clarification.
The proposal stipulates 3 main concerns of the PFA in regards of IFA violations of FIFA Statutes, including:
1. Restrictions of Palestinian rights for the freedom of movement. Players and football officials both within and outside the borders of the occupied State of Palestine, have been systematically restricted from their right to free movement, and continue to be hindered, limited, and obstructed by a set of unilateral regulations arbitrarily and inconsistently implemented. This constitutes a direct violation by IFA of Article 13.3 of the FIFA Statute, specifically in relation to Article 13.1(i) and its correspond articles in UEFA rules;
2. The continued racism and discriminatory behaviour of IFA officials and clubs in direct violation of not only the principles of FIFA, (including FIFA’s no-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination) but specifically in violation of Article 3 of the FIFA Statute and corresponding UEFA rules; and
3. The grave concern over at least five Israeli clubs located in illegal settlements in the occupied State of Palestine. The presence of the Israeli clubs, located in territory recognized by the international community as part of the State of Palestine, constitutes a direct violation of Articles 83 and 84 of the FIFA Statutes, including relevant UEFA rules.
As a viable and effective resolution to the above issues and violations of FIFA Statutes, it is proposed that:
FIFA will appoint a multi-lateral monitor group to work directly under the rules of the FIFA Ethics, Legal, and Discrimination committees, and will be composed of International Observers;
The monitor group will ensure the freedom of the PFA to develop its activities at the highest level possible, and be in accordance with FIFA requirements and standards, with special attention to Article 3 of FIFA Statutes and under FIFA’s objectives as described in article 2 of the said Statutes;
The monitor group will supervise the possible infringement of FIFA rules by IFA and their clubs, with special attention to Article 3 of FIFA Statutes;
The Congress, if approved by a majority as established under Article 27.6 of FIFA Statutes, and based on its prerogatives under article 14.1 of the said Statutes, will act in accordance with Articles 83.2 and 84 of FIFA Statutes. If shown to be true that these Israeli teams discussed are based on, and playing out of occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli Football Association will face the consequences of Article 14.1 in relation to Articles 13.1 and 13.2, ; and
In order to prove the territorial issue, which will be the basis for any measures implemented by FIFA statutes, FIFA will request the United Nations to officially notify FIFA of UN General Assembly Resolution 67/19.
Appendix 2 – on-screen text displayed during Congress item 15.1
15.1 Proposal by the Palestinian Football Association for the suspension of the Israel Football Association
1. to create a three-party working group (to be composed of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and a representative of FIFA) that would meet monthly to clarify and resolve issues
2. on the issue of freedom of movement of Palestinian and foreign players and officials within, in and out of the Palestinian territories – to introduce football IDs for the Palestinian football players and officials and to have a dedicated person at the checkpoints to facilitate and speed up the process (to be implemented under the supervision of the Israeli Sports Minister)
3. on the issue of football equipment donated by football bodies – to work on a possible solution for tax exemption on all football donations
4. on the issue of building football facilities and carrying out football-related activities in the Palestinian territories – to establish a joint Israeli-Palestinian football monitoring group headed by FIFA to facilitate the process
Appendix 3 – email received by Red Card Israeli Racism
Sent: 15 June 2015 14:36 Subject: FW: PFA Amendment at 65th FIFA Congress
The FIFA Congress agreed to establish a FIFA Monitoring Committee composed of a representative of the PFA and the IFA and overseen by FIFA.
This new body will guide and facilitate contact between the two associations and assess the implementation of the measures that were previously agreed, namely:
1) Three-party working group (composed of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and a representative of FIFA) that would meet monthly to clarify and solve the issues
2) On the issue of the freedom of movement of Palestinian and foreign players and officials within, in and out of the Palestinian territories – to introduce football IDs for the Palestinian football players and officials and to have a dedicated person at the checkpoints to facilitate and speed up the process (to be implemented under the supervision of the Israeli Sports Minister)
3) On the issue of the import of football equipment donated by football bodies – to work on a possible solution for tax exemption on all football donations
4) On the issue related to building football facilities and carrying out football related activities in the Palestinian territories – the FIFA Monitoring Committee will also facilitate this process
For further details, please see the following article published on 12 June 2015:
FIFA Media department