Tensions boil as PA and Jordan spar over FIFA presidential elections

The Jordanians claim that the head of the Palestinian Football Association did not vote for their candidate; Many are calling on government to revoke Rajoub’s Jordanian citizenship.

June 2, 2015 19:19
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)


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Tensions between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are mounting over the elections for the presidency of the International Federation of Football (FIFA).

The Jordanians claim that Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), did not vote for their candidate, Prince Ali, during FIFA’s 65th Congress last week in Zurich – a claim that Rajoub, who holds Jordanian citizenship, has strongly denied.

The Jordanians insist that Rajoub had voted for Sepp Blatter, the current president of FIFA.

Jordanian media outlets on Tuesday quoted an official source in Amman as saying that Rajoub has been declared persona non grata and banned from entering the kingdom.

Many Jordanians have also called on their government to revoke Rajoub’s Jordanian citizenship and ban him permanently from entering the kingdom.

Despite the decision, Rajoub was permitted to cross into the West Bank on Monday after arriving at the Queen Alia International Airport from Tunisia, The Jordan Times reported.

It said that as Rajoub arrived at the airport, authorities ordered him to return onboard the same plane, but mediators convinced the Jordanians to allow him to travel to the West Bank.

On Tuesday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas visited Prince Ali at his home in Amman in a bid to ease tensions between the two sides. Abbas was accompanied by several senior Palestinian officials, including Majed Faraj, commander of the General Intelligence Force in the West Bank.

Following the visit, Abbas was quoted as saying that “Jordan and Palestine are one people living in two states.” Abbas expressed hope that nothing would negatively impact this relationship.

“The Jordanian people and government have always supported the Palestinian cause,” Abbas stressed. However, he did not say whether Rajoub had indeed voted for Blatter.

Rajoub, meanwhile, admitted on Tuesday that he had failed to win the backing of a majority of FIFA members for his proposal to expel Israel from the international sports body.

Rajoub told reporters during a press conference in Ramallah that he had failed to win the support of 157 members for his proposal. He said that a vote against his proposal would have “exonerated” Israel and its measures.

He said the Palestinians faced widespread opposition in FIFA to their move to expel Israel. “There was no way that the proposal would have been approved,” Rajoub said, adding that he was planning on presenting the same proposal to FIFA next year.

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