South African precedent for sanctions against the Israeli FA

South African precedent for sanctions against the Israeli FA

There are similarities between what the Israeli FA and FIFA say now and what the Football Association of South Africa (FASA) and FIFA said over fifty years ago when FASA was excluded (suspended and expelled) for twenty eight years.  The struggle to throw FASA out of FIFA peaked during 1960 to 1964, when pressure from African nations and from South African non-white associations succeeded in forcing FIFA into action.  This is a summary of what happened then.

The Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) took the major first step in expelling FASA in 1960.  Later that year CAF introduced the “Rome resolution” at the December FIFA Congress and it was passed.  The resolution banned racial, religious or political discrimination.  FASA was given one year to conform.  This it failed to do and so was suspended in 1961.

In early 1963 a FIFA investigatory Commission reported that everyone could play football and reported that there was “no willful discrimination by FASA”, so FASA was readmitted.  However, the strong reaction of CAF and non-white South African Soccer Federation led to a motion being presented for the expulsion of FASA at the 1964 Congress in Tokyo.  Finally, presumably to ease agreement from European countries, the motion was changed to suspension.  It was then passed 48 to 15.   .

This started a twenty eight year exclusion, 1964 to 1992, of South Africa from all international football.  This was only lifted when the South African Football Association (SAFA) became multi-racial.

During that twenty eight year period “suspension” was replaced by “expulsion” in 1976 when Jorge Havelange, took over as Chairman, on the understanding that FIFA could readmit SA “as soon as racial discrimination has ceased to exist in their club matches”

FIFA had maintained that they should not embroil themselves in political matters.  Stanley Rous, chairman up to 1976, argued that no-one in South Africa was stopped playing football; he did not “think it right for one country to interfere in the political decisions or policies of another”.  He even remarked that “South Africa did not practice discrimination”.  He argued that FIFA could not change the policies of the South African government and emphasised that the issue was basically political.

FASA had emphasised that it was merely conforming to the law of the land. However, the South African Soccer Federation (SASF) which represented non-white associations, argued that FASA did not comprise or control all clubs and players in South Africa and did not have the standing to govern and develop football in South Africa. For CAF, Ghana highlighted the terms of the Rome resolution which South Africa contravened.

Further information can be gleaned from Wikipedia and the FIFA website In October 2004.  More detailed analyses are given at:

  1.  Alegi, Peter (2010). African soccerscapes : how a continent changed the world’s game (1. publ. ed.). London: Hurst. ISBN 9781849040389
  2. Oshebeng Alfeus Koonyaditse extract in Google books:
  3.  Paul Darby in  Africa, Football and FIFA: Politics, Colonialism and  Resistance.  Thsi is an excellent text given in part in Google books:

Be Sociable, Share!