Fifa delays judgement on Israeli settlements in Palestine
FIFA once again bowed down to Israel’s bullying yesterday by removing the issue of Israeli football clubs based in illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory from today’s agenda at congress.
Fifa claimed that “at this stage it is premature for the Fifa congress to take any decision” due to a report submitted by Tokyo Sexwale, the chair of the Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine.
However, Hind Awwad, spokesperson for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, slammed the decision by football’s world governing body, saying they are “shamefully bending to Israeli bullying.”
He said: “Fifa should know that justice delayed is justice denied. Israel’s repression of Palestinian sport and athletes has no place in world football.
“Israel should not be able to base its football clubs on stolen Palestinian land, bomb Palestinian stadiums, violently attack Palestinian athletes and restrict their movements or subject them to arbitrary arrest while enjoying impunity.
“Israel has made it abundantly clear that it has no intention of respecting Palestinian rights, on or off the field. Fifa is shamefully bending to Israeli bullying by continuing to apply a double standard and making a mockery of its stated commitment to respect human rights.
“For two years, Fifa has ducked its responsibilities and allowed the Israel Football Association to violate Fifa’s own statutes by including football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.
After bowing time and again to Israeli intimidation, Fifa had a chance to correct its disgraceful record.
But it seems Fifa president Gianni Infantino is bent on following his predecessor’s corrupt path.”
The Palestine Football Association has now submitted a motion for debate for congress today. Israel will need three-quarters of all member associations in attendance to obstruct the motion.
Awwad said: “Fifa congress members have an opportunity and responsibility to stand on the right side of history by voting on this motion.
“We call on Fifa members to uphold Palestinian rights and vote for the suspension of Israel’s membership given Israel’s persistent disregard for Fifa statutes and its outright refusal to exclude settlement teams located on occupied Palestinian land from its league.
“Fifa has an unequivocal policy against racism and has played a historic role in the fight against apartheid. South Africa’s apartheid regime was kicked out of Fifa. Why not hold Israel to the same standard?”