FIFA has missed its latest target on 10 February 2017 on solving the problem of illegal Settlement Clubs. The campaign has written to Tokyo Sewale, Chairman of the Israeli Palestine Monitoring Committee, and Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, urging quick and proper resolution of the impasse on Settlement Clubs.
1. Letter to Tokyo Sexwale
Dear Mr Sexwale,
We note that your “final report” on the work of the Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine was not presented to FIFA Council on 10th January. President Infantino told assembled journalists that he expected it to be ready within another month, but we understand that this further deadline will be missed too. These repeated delays are in no one’s interests.
It seems that “one final meeting” was imposed on the Monitoring Committee in the vain hope of achieving a compromise agreement on the issue of the Israeli clubs located in illegal settlements. But such a compromise is neither likely nor desirable.
As the UN Security Council reminded the world on 23rd December, Israel’s settlement policy “constitutes a flagrant violation of international law“. FIFA’s integrity will be gravely compromised if it cannot demonstrate its respect for the rule of law, so soon after placing the promotion of human rights at the heart of its own Statutes.
In November you promised that your report would be “very clear and loud” on this subject. We trust that you will honour that promise by urging FIFA to observe the law and apply its Statutes without fear or favour.
Yours sincerely, RCIR.
2. Letter to President Infantino
Dear President Infantino,
We write to express our dismay at the apparent downgrading by FIFA of its efforts to resolve the long-standing grievances brought by the Palestine Football Association.
At the 66th Congress FIFA declared its ongoing intention to address those grievances. To that end Congress mandated the Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine to continue its work, and in particular to “bring a clear solution” to FIFA Council on 14/10/16 concerning the Israeli clubs located in illegal settlements. In addition you announced your personal intention to visit Israel and Palestine prior to that date, and declared that “my engagement is there”.
But your fine words have gone no further than the podium:
· you have not visited the region, neither has there been any indication that your visit will indeed take place.
· Mr Sexwale brought no recommendations concerning the settlement clubs to FIFA Council on 14/10/16, for the simple reason that the Monitoring Committee had not yet met to discuss the matter.
· the Monitoring Committee did meet in November, but Mr Sexwale’s report on his progress was then relegated to “Any Other Business” at FIFA Council on 10/01/17.
· during your post-Council media briefing on 10th January you announced that the matter had once again been postponed. Mr Sexwale was now tasked with one more Monitoring Committee meeting and would report back within a month.
· we understand that since 10th January the Monitoring Committee has failed to meet and is unlikely to do so for several more weeks.
These repeated postponements are totally unacceptable. It would appear that you are determined to avoid taking any decision on the settlement clubs unless you can secure the agreement of both the Israeli and Palestinian side. This is highly unlikely bearing in mind the known attitudes of both associations.
Furthermore the issue is far too important for one side to be given a veto on progress. FIFA has received ample advice in respect of the legal position. The settlement clubs are contributing to egregious human rights violations and there can only be one solution – an end to the IFA’s relationship with them. By failing to act, FIFA risks betraying its most basic values.
The Monitoring Committee’s report is an essential prerequisite for action. FIFA must publish this report, debate it and decide – and stop kicking the matter into the long grass.
We implore you not to turn your back on Palestine.
Yours sincerely, RCIR.