Palestinian Football Groups Condemn FIFA’s Failure to Expel Illegal Israeli Clubs Based in Settlements

Chairman of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine Tokyo Sexwale. (Photo: via RT)

A wide coalition of Palestinian and international organisations denounced FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s “failure to compel Israel’s national football league to exclude six football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements,” PNN reported.

The groups called for the dissolution of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine.

“FIFA’s failure to act against the Israeli settlement clubs renders it complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, and violates its own rules, which forbid member associations from playing in the territory of another member association without the latter’s permission,” the groups said.

The FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine, established in May 2015 and chaired by Tokyo Sexwale, was due to submit its report to the FIFA Council in October 2016. However, Israeli government officials have pressured the committee to soften its recommendations and prevent the exclusion of Israeli settlement clubs from its leagues.

Despite promises of accountability, FIFA has bowed to Israeli pressure and is delaying the publication of its committee’s report indefinitely, thus making it difficult to take action on the issue in the upcoming FIFA Congress in May 2017.

Sharaf Qutaifan, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), said, “The FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine has failed to deliver on its mandate and should be dissolved.”

“FIFA and the committee have bowed to political pressure, refusing to take meaningful action to end the Israeli Football Association’s violation of FIFA statutes. FIFA is breaching its own duty of neutrality and is discriminating against Palestine. Infantino has abandoned his promise to make a clean break from the corruption of his predecessor Sepp Blatter, and has instead followed in his footsteps.”

Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live illegally in the West Bank settlements.

Moreover, FIFA has faced criticism from Palestinian sport bodies due to its lack of actions against Israel’s arrest of Palestinian sportspeople, its systemic policy of denying them necessary permits to move freely and its continuing destruction of Palestinian sport facilities.

(PC, PNN, Social Media)

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