South Africa

The Football Association of South Africa (FASA) was excluded from FIFA for twenty eight years, from 1964 to 1992.  There are similarities between what the Israeli FA and FIFA say now and what the Football Association of South Africa (FASA) and FIFA said during 1960 to 1964.
The struggle to throw FASA out of FIFA started in 1960.  Pressure from African nations and from South African non-white associations succeeded in forcing FIFA into action. This is a summary of what happened.

The Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) took the initiative by expelling FASA in 1960.  In an excellent tactical move later that year CAF introduced the “Rome resolution” at the December FIFA Congress.  It was passed. It 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 to FIFA.

However, there was a strong negative reaction by CAF and the non-white South African Soccer Federation.  At the 1964 Congress in Tokyo a motion was presented calling for the expulsion of FASA . At the final stages of debate the motion was changed to call for suspension rather than explusion, presumably to ease agreement from European countries,. It was then passed 48 to 15.

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

During that twenty eight year period the word “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 it should not embroil itself in political matters, just as it does now with respect to Israel. 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. That is exactly what the Israeli FA says about its policy on settlement clubs – referring to Israeli law and not international law.  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 simple terms of the Rome resolution which South Africa contravened.  So the day was won for CAF and justice.

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. Thisi is an excellent text given in part in Google books:

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