The Swiss newspapers “Tribune de Geneve” and “Blick” reveal that some thirty members of the Swiss parliament have called on FIFA to exclude the Israeli settlement clubs that play without permission from Palestinians.
Their letter to FIFA emphasises the need for “Fair Play” MP Cedric Wermuth adds “Especially from the Swiss Infantino, we expect this without any ifs or buts.“
Blick reports Federal Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter ithat “Switzerland believes that the Israeli settlements violate international humanitarian law”
The full articles are at:
http://www.tdg.ch/suisse/fifa-priee-exclure-6-equipes-israeliennes/story/20070646 (in French)
http://www.blick.ch/news/politik/fifa-soll-siedler-klubs-von-der-meisterschaft-ausschliessen-schweizer-politiker-werfen-israel-foul-vor-id6431064.html (in German)
The Tribune’s translated text is:
“The International Federation of Football (FIFA) regularly figures in debates in the Federal Parliament. But most of the time, for tax purposes. This time, FIFA has just been attacked on another ground: that of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, about thirty parliamentarians demand that FIFA exclude six teams from the Occupied Territories from the Israeli championship, as reported by Blick on Monday.
The letter, sent to the head of FIFA, the Swiss Gianni Infantino, was signed by parliamentarians of almost all sides. Thus, there are mainly representatives of the Left, such as Socialist National Councilor Cedric Wermuth, but also from the bourgeois camp, such as PLR Christa Markwalder or PDC Barbara Schmid-Federer.
Their arguments? In the FIFA Statutes, it is specified that no club is allowed to play in the territory of another federation without the consent of the federation. In this case, the Palestinian Football Federation. FIFA must therefore respect international law and exclude these clubs located in the west of the West Bank since they are not recognized on the Palestinian side, say Swiss politicians.
European Pressure too
This pressure, however, comes not only from Swiss parliamentarians. More than 60 representatives of the European Parliament have also demanded that all clubs from the occupied territories be excluded from competitions organized by FIFA or the Israeli Football Federation.
However, voices in Switzerland are rising against this position. The Swiss UDC Erich Siebenthal, who is chairman of the Swiss-Israel parliamentary group, believes that it is not up to children and young people to pay the price for an anti-Israel policy that many states favor. It is “repugnant”, he criticizes, that Swiss politicians are trying to “put pressure on Israel through sport”.