Former UK soccer chief comes to Israel’s defense in FIFA row

LONDON – One of English soccer’s former top executives, Simon Johnson, has launched a campaign to stop Israel being suspended from FIFA.
Speaking exclusively to The Jerusalem Post, he disclosed that he has written to FIFA and to many of his soccer management contacts internationally in an attempt to stave off the proposal of the Palestinian soccer association which is due to be debated by FIFA next week.
Johnson, now the chief executive of the UK Jewish Leadership Council, said he sent letters to a wide range of international figures including FIFA’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke; the president of CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) and FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb; the Oceania Football Confederation’s General Secretary Tai Nicholas; and the president of the US Soccer Federation and FIFA Executive Committee member Sunil Gulati.
Johnson, who until a year ago was director of corporate affairs at the English Football Association and in charge of the England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, told the Post that if the Palestinians’ proposal to exclude Israel were to pass, “It would be an appalling act of delegitimization.
It would be humiliating for Israel, would be worldwide headline news and give the BDS movement a major shot in the arm.
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