Rajoub: We Won’t Drop Bid to Have Israel Suspended from FIFA

May 21, 2015  

The head of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, stressed on Wednesday that the organization will not drop its bid to have Israel suspended from FIFA, AFP reported.

Rajoub’s comments came in a press conference held after he met FIFA chief Sepp Blatter.

“We will keep the proposal on the agenda (of the upcoming FIFA Congress) for sincere and open discussions by the 208 FIFA member associations,” he said.

“There will be no compromising on free movement of our athletes and officials,” stressed Rajoub.

Rajoub also welcomed the idea of an Israel-‘Palestine’ “match for peace”, which Blatter said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had agreed to, but said conditions were not yet ready for such a game.

“Yesterday, you raised a very great idea … It’s a creative idea, I like it,” Rajoub told Blatter at the press conference.

“But we have to pave the road for that, we have to prepare the environment. But this should be an endgame, this should be a purpose for you and I urge you not to give up,” he added, according to AFP.

Rajoub has been leading a drive to have Israel suspended from FIFA, claiming Israel discriminates against Palestinian Arab players and restricts their movement.

Blatter has recently spoken out against suspending the Israeli FA but the PFA was able to get the request placed on the agenda for the FIFA Congress to take place on May 29.

The FIFA chief arrived in the region on Tuesday in an attempt to work out a compromise between the sides. He met with Netanyahu, who praised Blatter “for opposing the politicization of sport.”

“Sport is a vehicle of goodwill among nations. The thing that could destroy the Football Association is politicizing it,” said Netanyahu.

“You politicize it once with Israel, then you politicize it for everyone, and it will cause the deterioration of a great institution. I know you understand this.

“I want you also to know that we are helping Palestinian football, among other things because of things that you have raised with us, and we are going to discuss with you a number of measures we think will further help the situation,” said the Prime Minister.

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