RCIR calls on FIFA to suspend the Israeli Football Association

RCIR calls on FIFA to suspend the Israeli Football Association

The Red Card Israel Racism campaign wrote to FIFA President Sepp Blatter on 1 March 2014 calling for the suspension of the Israeli Football Association from FIFA until Israel respects the human rights of Palestinians and observes international law.  The letter was copied to the Presidents of the six Regional Confederations and all members of the FIFA Executive Committee.

The RCIR campaign considers that FIFA should follow the precedent set by the exclusion of the South African Football Federation from 1964 to 1992 during the apartheid era.  The text of the letter to Mr Blatter is as follows:

Dear Mr Blatter,

As you know, on 31 January this year two young, unarmed Palestinian footballers, aged 19 and 17, were shot as they were walking home from a training session in the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium in the West Bank. They were subsequently set upon by police dogs and beaten by Israeli soldiers. Later in hospital a total of 13 bullets were removed from the arms and legs of the two young men, who will never play football again.

This is just the latest in a long catalogue of violent and repressive actions taken by the Israeli Defence Force, exposing the Israeli government’s callous disregard for the basic human rights of the Palestinians.

The incident has led President Jibril Rajoub of the Palestinian Football Association to demand that the Israeli Football Association be removed from FIFA.

We endorse this demand. While we note that the Israel-Palestine Task Force has worked hard to facilitate Palestinian footballers crossing borders, we feel that the pressure on the Israelis is not nearly enough to achieve any significant results.

We therefore call for the suspension of the Israeli Football Association from FIFA until Israel respects the human rights of Palestinians and observes international law.  On 20 February we launched a petition to make this call.  Within a week around 2,000 signatories around the world had given their support.

During Apartheid from 1964 to 1992 the South African Football Association was excluded from FIFA.  We believe that FIFA should now follow this precedent.

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