DE­CI­SION

Fifa to rule on Is­rael set­tle­ment clubs

New Straits Times - - Sport -

bor­der.

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

AP PIC

Pales­tinian fed­er­a­tion chief Jib­ril Ra­joub speaks dur­ing the Fifa Congress on Thurs­day.

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