Fifa to rule on Israel settlement clubs
The Congress heard from both the Palestinian and Israeli federations before taking the vote.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who phoned the Fifa president on the issue, welcomed the announcement in a video posted on Twitter.
“We’ve achieved another victory in the battle on our intl (international) standing by foiling an attempt to undermine our standing in @Fifacom,” wrote Netanyahu.
“We’ll continue to defend Israel & to strengthen its int’l standing.”
But the PFA blasted the decision.
“We are disappointed that Fifa have decided to allow political pressure to win over the Fifa statutes,” the PFA said in a statement.
“We fear Mr. Infantino’s action of today has set a precedent where governments decide the agenda for a Fifa congress, and violations of the statutes and misuse of its legal devices become so common in a way that encourages those who allow football to be used as a tool to normalise oppression.
“We will pursue the matter in the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) because we consider the way in which our proposal was overthrown by Mr. Infantino illegal, and an additional violation of the Fifa Statutes and standing orders of the congress.”
Palestinian football chief Jibril Rajoub told delegates his association wanted the same rights as others.
“We are not looking for suspension or expulsion but the full recognition of our right that no Israeli clubs play in our territory,” he said.
“None of you will accept that any clubs play in your territory.”
The issue has now been presented to five separate Congresses.
However, Ofer Eini of the Israeli association, said the PFA were looking for a political solution.
“The sole purpose is to establish the political boundaries,” he told the Congress.
“This is outside the authority of Fifa to establish borders.
“What are you trying to stop five or six teams of children from playing football? Will that resolve the Palestinian problem?”
A Fifa commission chaired by South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale has presented several potential solutions and a fresh report was handed to the Fifa Council on Wednesday, said Infantino, without giving further details.
Following the decision, campaign group Avaaz said the Fifa president had been “bullied” by Israel.
“Fifa have failed and football has lost again,” said Fadi Quran, senior campaigner with Avaaz.
In a press conference after the Congress finished, Infantino admitted it was a “sensitive issue” and noted that the new American leadership said it was trying to find a peace settlement.
“Hopefully President Trump can find a solution. If he has any good ideas, I am happy to take them on board,” he said. AFP
Palestinian federation chief Jibril Rajoub speaks during the Fifa Congress on Thursday.