By Palestine Chronicle Staff
Human Rights Watch published a media advisory yesterday urging FIFA, the world football federation, to abide by its statutes and human rights responsibilities and tell the Israel Football Association to stop organizing matches in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Tokyo Sexwale, the chair of the monitoring committee established by FIFA to address the issue, presented his recommendations to FIFA yesterday in Manama, Bahrain. The issue is to be decided by the full FIFA Congress meeting on May 11, according to HRW.
“Why is FIFA continuing to sponsor games in unlawful Israeli settlements, on land stolen from Palestinians?” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “FIFA’s Congress should vote to follow its own statutes, which include respecting human rights.”
Israel/Palestine: FIFA Sponsoring Games on Seized Land | Human Rights Watch https://t.co/oVEyuNoOOV
— hannibal Barka (@bassemvaudais) April 27, 2017
In violation of international law and the fourth Geneva Conventions, six FIFA football clubs are based in settlements where they host their official home matches, on land unlawfully taken from and off-limits to Palestinians.
“Hundreds of thousands of football fans are telling FIFA to stop violating its own rules and international law,” said Fadi Quran, senior campaigner at Avaaz. “There’s only one non-political, fair solution: No more Israeli FIFA games in illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.”
FIFA’s statutes also prohibit a member association from holding games on the territory of another member association without its permission. When Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, FIFA’s European affiliate UEFA blocked Russia from incorporating teams from Crimea in its national league, on the basis of the same rule.