Is­rael aim­ing to de­lay Fifa vote on set­tle­ment teams

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

IS­RAELI DIPLO­MATS are try­ing to stave off a vote at next month’s Fifa congress over the fu­ture of foot­ball teams from the set­tle­ments.

Tokyo Sexwale, chair­man of the Fifa com­mit­tee tasked with look­ing into is­sues raised by the Pales­tinian Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, has met Is­raeli Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (IFA) lead­ers and Jib­ril Ra­joub, leader of the Pales­tinian FA. Both now ex­pect Mr Sexwale to fo­cus on the is­sue of set­tle­ment teams.

Six teams from the West Bank play in IFA-sanc­tioned tour­na­ments, all in the lower non-pro­fes­sional leagues.

Fifa is ex­pected to rec­om­mend Is­rael be given a six-month warn­ing over their par­tic­i­pa­tion be­fore con­sid­er­ing a vote on sanc­tions.

The Pales­tini­ans are de­mand­ing Fifa treat them in the same way as teams from the Crimean penin­sula, an­nexed by Rus­sia from Ukraine in 2014.

Those teams are for­bid­den from com­pet­ing in Rus­sian leagues.

Is­rael’s For­eign Min­istry is lob­by­ing friendly gov­ern­ments to use their in­flu­ence within Fifa to try to in­def­i­nitely post­pone a vote.

The set­tle­ment teams’ games could tech­ni­cally be moved to within the Green Line. Such a so­lu­tion would prob­a­bly solve the is­sue as far as Fifa is con­cerned, but would con­tra­dict Is­raeli pol­icy of re­gard­ing any boy­cott of the set­tle­ments as a boy­cott of all Is­rael.

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