PALESTINIAN KIDS protest in favor of ejecting Israel from FIFA, the soccer federation.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The FIFA Council agreed to delay any vote at Thursday’s 67th congress in Bahrain that would led to the ouster of Israel or its six West Bank settlement teams from the world-wide soccer league.
The item is on the congress’s agenda, and it was unclear on Tuesday night if the Palestinian Authority would press the matter in spite of the council’s recommendation.
In a shortly worded text posted on its website, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association stated: “The FIFA Council considered that at this stage it is premature for the FIFA Congress to take any decision.”
Earlier in the day, prior to the statement, Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub said, “We will go to the congress and we will ask the congress to decide. I don’t think we can reach an agreement with the Israelis. The Israelis just want to keep talking for the sake of talking.”
FIFA has recognized the PFA as one of its 211 national associations since 1998. The PA is now insisting that FIFA bylaws which prohibit one league using land belonging to the country of another league be applied to the six Israeli soccer clubs in the West Bank.
The Israel Football Association maintains that the application of the bylaw to the West Bank teams would put FIFA in the position of determining Israel’s borders, which is beyond its purview.
A joint monitoring committee, made up of delegations from both leagues, has met for the last two years without finding a compromise position.
The committee, which is chaired by former South African government minister Tokyo Sexwale, met again on Tuesday in Bahrain without any result. A report by the committee, which Sexwale presented to the council, was also unable to draw a clear conclusion.
Reuters contributed to this report.