Israel aiming to delay Fifa vote on settlement teams
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.