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FIFA Seeks Legal Advice on Palestinian Proposal to Suspend Israel from International Football

May 19, 2024
Photo: Jibril Rajoub at the FIFA annual congress in Bangkok. Photo Source: The New York Times

During FIFA’s (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) annual congress in Bangkok, the football governing body announced that it would seek independent legal advice on the possibility of suspending Israel from international football. 

The call for suspension was proposed by the Palestinian Football Association on Friday 17 May, and will be discussed by FIFA’s council meeting on 20 July. 

The decision to seek legal advice was revealed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the FIFA Congress on Friday after representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli football federations spoke in front of the 211 member associations.

The Palestinian Football Association proposal called for “appropriate sanctions, with immediate effect, against Israeli teams” and cited “international law violations committed by the Israeli occupation in Palestine, particularly in Gaza.” 

The motion noted that “all the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed or seriously damaged, including the historic stadium of Al-Yarmuk.”

Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, said “The Palestinian people, including the Palestinian football family, are enduring an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” and that he had been threatened by the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs over the proposal.

The Palestinian Football Federation has raised the issue of Palestinian football’s challenges at the FIFA Congress on at least five occasions since 2014 but has not yet been able to achieve the progress it has been seeking.

However, Infantino clarified that the “proposal” can not be decided by a full vote of the FIFA membership on Friday, as it falls under the jurisdiction of the FIFA governing council. 

He stressed the need to “apply the statutes of FIFA and its regulations” and ensure a “fair and due process” by seeking independent legal advice.

Infantino further noted that the council had unanimously condemned acts of violence and reiterated that “football should not and should never become a hostage of politics.”

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