FIFA to Discuss Suspending Israel

May 5, 2015  

A move to consider suspending Israel from world soccer will be put to FIFA’s 209 member federations just before they elect their president this month, The Associated Press reported Monday.

FIFA published an agenda for its election congress on May 29, including a late proposal by Palestinian Arab officials to suspend Israel.

The move is unlikely to succeed, however, after FIFA President Sepp Blatter said last month he opposed it. The proposal would need three-quarters of votes to pass if a ballot is allowed.

Palestinian Arab officials insist Israel’s soccer federation should be punished for restrictions imposed by security forces which limit movement of players, opposing teams and equipment.

During the meeting in Zurich, Blatter, who met several times in recent weeks with Palestinian football head Jibril Rajoub, is scheduled to update on his mediation between the two federations. Talks began in 2013.

Blatter said ahead of meeting Rajoub in Cairo last month that suspending a member “is always something which harms the whole organization.”

The Palestinian Football Association has tried in the past to have Israel expelled from international tournaments for restricting Arab teams from entering PA controlled territories. In response, Blatter had threatened to suspend Israel, which later said it would allow the players free movement.

Rajoub, for his part, is known for his inciting statements against Israel, which include claiming in a television interview that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler could have learned from Israel about extermination camps.

He has suggested in the past that Israel “should be removed”, and last year supported Hamas’s threats to kidnap IDF soldiers on PA TV.

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