FIFA hands the President of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub a 12-month match suspension and a CHF 20,000 fine following media statements he gave calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi. pic.twitter.com/PMi18ijT4d— CNN Football (@CNNFC) August 24, 2018
Rajoub was found guilty of violating article 53 (inciting hatred and violence) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. The ban began Friday.Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev lauded the FIFA decision on Friday and said FIFA “removed the mask from the face of the terrorist.”The Argentinean national team, including striker Lionel Messi, was due to play a friendly match against the Israeli national team in Jerusalem in June. The match between Argentina and Israel was eventually canceled.Following the match’s cancellation, Regev had claimed the Argentinean team canceled the match because of personal threats made against their players. On Friday she said “the truth came out,” and said it was not the decision to hold the game in Jerusalem rather than Haifa, where it was originally meant to take place, that led to the match’s cancellation.Regev also thanked the head of the Israel Football Association, Ofer Eini, who had appealed to FIFA in June following the cancellation.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a state-visit to Lithuania, said “FIFA kicked the ball into the net” with this decision.In June, Rajoub called on Palestinian fans to burn pictures of Messi, as well as replicas of his shirt, should the world-famous striker choose to visit Israel.“We are going to target him personally and we call on all to burn his picture and his shirt and to abandon him,” Rajoub said at the time.The FIFA decision, in addition to the nearly NIS 74,000 fine, states that Rajoub is banned from taking part in media activities in football stadiums, or near them, when matches are played.