Both FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke and UEFA’s President Platini have argued that they can’t act against the Israeli Football Association (IFA) since it’s the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) that represses Palestinian football and not the IFA. But this ignores crucial links. We wrote to Jerome Valcke on 12 May 2014 as follows:
“The fact that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) acts to repress Palestinian football does not absolve the Israeli Football Association (IFA) from responsibility. The policy of repression is set by the State of Israel and the IDF simply implements that policy. The IDF is a state institution, but so is the IFA (1), and both are regulated by the same state body: the State Comptroller. The State of Israel also contributes significantly to the IFA’s budget (1,2). These official links make the IFA inextricably embedded in the discriminatory policies of the State and the repressive actions of the IDF against Palestinians. In that way the IFA contravenes FIFA Statutes.
The IFA may claim to be helping Palestinians, but the effect to date seems to have been negligible. Do you have any evidence of material help? Within Israel the IFA has done precisely the opposite by endorsing a change of ownership of the Beitar club. This has led to the only two Muslim players leaving and the Chairman who signed them being sacked. As a result, the supporters’ vehement racism continues unchallenged. The IFA’s failure to act at Beitar is of itself enough to justify its suspension from FIFA.”
We urge all FIFA and UEFA member associations to consider these facts and to support the Palestinian Football Association by calling on FIFA to suspend the IFA until Israel respects the human rights of Palestinians and observes international law
(1) Quotation by MK Zvulun Orlev, from a Knesset hearing about the Israeli national football team in 2009: “The State Comptroller, by law, regulates the association, due to its being a public institution as well as being a supported institution: the State of Israel contributes to its budget”
” מבקר המדינה, על פי חוק, מבקר את ההתאחדות, הן מהיותו גוף ציבורי וגם מפני שההתאחדות הישראלית לכדורגל היא גוף נתמך. מדינת ישראל משתתפת בתקציבו,”
(2) A recent Ministry of Culture and Sport annual budget shows about USD 50 million, of which only two thirds was spent. http://budget.msh.gov.il/#001937,2012,0,1,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0