66 EU MPs Call on FIFA to bar Israeli Clubs

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Alyn Smith, Scottish National Party MP, has initiated a call, which has led to issuing an open letter to football authority FIFA. The MPs called on Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA to bar five Israeli clubs based in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, from playing in the Israeli league.

The letter read, “We are Members of the European Parliament who believe that sports play a key role in the global promotion of peace and respect for human rights.”

“There are at least five Israeli football clubs in West Bank settlements that play in the Israeli football league. However, the West Bank is part of the occupied Palestinian territory, which falls under the Palestinian Football Association. The settlement clubs, therefore, clearly violate FIFA’s Statutes, according to which clubs from one member association cannot play on the territory of another member association without its and FIFA’s consent,” the letter explained.

The letter noted that Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate Palestinian human rights, stating:  “Supporting the settlement clubs is also incompatible with FIFA’s newly strengthened commitment to respect and promote human rights. As amply documented by the United Nations, the expansion of settlements leads to widespread violations of human rights, including confiscation of Palestinians’ land, demolition of their homes and restrictions on their movement.”

“We urge you to act in accordance with FIFA Statutes, international law, the existing precedents and FIFA’s human rights commitments. On this basis, FIFA should rule that settlement clubs either fully relocate within Israel’s internationally recognized borders or are excluded from the Israeli Football Association,” the MPs concluded.


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