Rajoub presents FIFA recommendations on settlement clubs

FIFA’s first recommendation is to maintain the status, which would be a violation of international law including UN resolutions.

April 4, 2017 04:08
2 minute read.
jabril rabouj

President of the Palestinian FA Jibril Rajoub shows a red card as he speaks during the 65th FIFA Congress on May 29, 2015 in Zurich.. (photo credit: AFP/MICHAEL BUHOLZER)

The FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine submitted draft recommendations regarding six Israeli soccer clubs based in settlements at a monitoring committee meeting on April 22, Palestinian Football Association chairman Jabril Rajoub confirmed Monday.

The monitoring committee, which is comprised of FIFA representative Tokyo Sexwale, Israeli Football Association chairman Ofer Eini, and Rajoub, was created at the last FIFA Congress in 2015 to resolve the issue of the settlements clubs’ issue.

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The monitoring committee has met multiple times in Israel, the Palestinian territories and abroad in the past two years, but failed to compromise on the issue.

“Recommendations, not decisions, were made,” Rajoub said of the draft report at a press conference at PFA headquarters in al-Ram.

FIFA’s first recommendation is to maintain the status, which would be a violation of international law including UN resolutions, Rajoub said.

The PFA argues that the six settlement clubs are based on sovereign Palestinian territory, which is a violation of a FIFA Article 72.2.

Article 72.2 states that “member associations and their clubs may not play on the territory of another member association without the latter’s approval.”

The IFA, however, rejects Rajoub’s position, saying the West Bank is “disputed land.”

FIFA’s second recommendation is to give Israel a six-month warning period to relocate the settlement clubs into Israel’s internationally recognized borders, according to Rajoub.

If Israel does not move the settlement clubs outside of the West Bank, the FIFA Executive Council would make a final decision on its own and potentially sanction the IFA, Rajoub said, referring to the second recommendation.

An IFA official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the PFA should drop its demand to relocate six settlement clubs.

“Mr. Rajoub is trying to make a political fortune out of this issue and drag FIFA into politics,” the official said. “It’s not FIFA’s job to come to a conclusion regarding sovereignty over territories.”

Rajoub vehemently rejects the official’s accusation, arguing that he has no political goal and is only interested in implementing the FIFA statutes.

FIFA’s third recommendation is to allow the two parties to continue talks in hopes of reaching an agreement on the fate of the settlement clubs, Rajoub added.

“From our perspective, this will not be done,” Rajoub remarked regarding additional talks, saying they will not close gaps between the IFA and PFA.

FIFA did not respond to a request for comment.

It is not clear if FIFA will accept one of the recommendations set forth in the monitoring committee’s draft report.

In order for one of the proposed recommendations to become an official decision, the FIFA Congress or the FIFA Executive Council must adopt and implement one of them.

The next FIFA Congress is set to take place May 11 in Bahrain, in which Palestinian and Israeli soccer officials expect the monitoring committee’s draft report will be discussed.

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