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Israel & Occupied Palestinian Territories: FIFA doing business in unlawful settlements that are off-limits to Palestinians

Author: Human Rights Watch, Published on: 28 September 2016

Israel/Palestine: FIFA Sponsoring Games on Seized Land; Israeli Settlement Football Clubs Contribute to Human Rights Violations, 25 September 2016

FIFA, the worldwide football association, is sponsoring matches in Israeli settlements in the West Bank on land unlawfully taken from Palestinians… Human Rights Watch investigated the situation of football clubs that play in the Israel Football Association (IFA) but hold their official matches outside Israel, on fields located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured and occupied in 1967…

By allowing the IFA to hold matches inside settlements, FIFA is engaging in business activity that supports Israeli settlements, contrary to the human rights commitments it recently affirmed. An April 2016 report, commissioned by FIFA and written by John Ruggie, the author of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), which outline the human rights responsibilities of businesses, makes specific recommendations for FIFA to implement the UNGP throughout its activities… FIFA said it would respond [to the HRW report] at a later date, and UEFA declined to respond. The IFA sent a response on September 23, 2016. [Responses from other Israeli clubs are included in the report]

In the case of one club playing in the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze’ev, the IFA, and therefore FIFA as well, are holding matches on a playing field that was rendered off-limits to its Palestinian owners, two families from neighboring Beitunia who were unable to access their land after Israel built the settlement in 1977.

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Related companies: FIFA