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Israel & Occupied Palestinian Territories: FIFA delays decision on Israeli football clubs in settlements amid concerns about violation of FIFA bylaws

Author: Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post (Israel), Published on: 5 June 2017

In Israeli win, FIFA balks at ousting settler soccer clubs, 11 May 2017

The Palestinians lost their bid to oust six West Bank settlement teams, as the 67th FIFA Congress in Bahrain voted 138-50 on Thursday to postpone the issue for another year… [Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association] Jibril Rajoub, said the vote to delay the issue was illegal and that he plans to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, headquartered in Switzerland … [Israel Football Association Head Ofer Eini said] “There should be soccer games everywhere,” … He charged Rajoub with politicizing FIFA by asking it to determine the geographical boundaries of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. [Rajoub] explained that the presence of six IFA soccer clubs in the West Bank violates FIFA bylaws that prevent the teams from one national football association from playing on the territory of another. In that scenario, the IFA would be in dangers of being ousted from FIFA altogether if it does not drop the settlement teams … [FIFA President], Infantino, said that the 37-member FIFA Council, which met to discuss the matter two days earlier, felt that “more time was needed,” but that it could possibly resolve the issue within half a year. He acknowledged that, after five years of wrestling with this issue, it is time for FIFA to act, but added that it seems as if this would be the last delay. Two years ago, FIFA established the Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine, composed of delegations from the IFA and the PFA and chaired by South African Tokyo Sexwale. A report the committee presented to the council on Tuesday was inconclusive, but Infantino said it is possible the council could arrive at a decision in October.

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Related companies: FIFA