The following statement was issued today by Red Card Israeli Racism:
RCIR is appalled – but hardly surprised – by Gianni Infantino’s reprehensible appearance on Tuesday at the US-backed Peace to Prosperity Workshop in Manama – the Trump administration’s ill-received attempt to bribe the Palestinians into abandoning their national aspirations.
As the Palestine Football Association’s Jibril Rajoub reminded the FIFA President on Tuesday, the Palestinians “are boycotting this workshop that so blatantly and disrespectfully presumes it can decide the future of a people in absentia, as if these people did not exist”.
But Infantino displayed the same neo-colonial contempt for Palestine two years ago at the 67th FIFA Congress, when he personally blocked the PFA’s efforts to hold the Israel Football Association to account for its collusion in Israeli war crimes. This was on the same day that FIFA’s new human rights policy was formally adopted, but the irony was evidently lost on him.
Infantino is a man made for the Trump era – he treats FIFA as his personal fiefdom and is in turn happy to fawn on those more powerful than himself. Higher principles are borrowed as mere slogans for his latest public relations pitch.
We continue to hope for a genuinely reformed governance of world football, capable of holding those who abuse their power to account. In the meantime Israel continues to steal the land and resources on which the future of the Palestinians – including their sporting future – ought to be built.