SportsFIFA Delays Verdict On Israeli Football Amid Palestinian Demands

FIFA Delays Verdict On Israeli Football Amid Palestinian Demands

May 18, (THEWILL) – Tension gripped FIFA’s annual congress in Bangkok on Friday, as the fate of Israeli football’s international participation hung in the balance. Palestinian Football Association’s president, Jibril Rajoub, delivered an impassioned appeal, urging FIFA to suspend Israel from global football competitions. Citing the devastating toll of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, including the loss of over 250 Palestinian athletes, Rajoub implored FIFA to “stand on the right side of history.”

Echoing past instances where FIFA took decisive action against nations embroiled in conflicts, such as Russia, Apartheid-era South Africa, and Yugoslavia, Rajoub questioned whether FIFA considers some wars and victims more significant than others. He reiterated his long-standing objection to the presence of six teams from Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, arguing it violates FIFA regulations.

Israeli Football Association president Shino Moshe Zuares dismissed Rajoub’s demand as a “cynical political and hostile attempt to harm Israeli football.” Highlighting the impact of hostilities on Israeli football and the plight of 130 Israelis being held captive, Zuares expressed hope for a future friendly match between Israeli and Palestinian players, symbolising reconciliation.


Faced with the polarising perspectives, FIFA president Gianni Infantino acknowledged the gravity of the situation but emphasised that football should remain a force for unity, not division. He deferred a decision on suspending Israel until July, allowing time for FIFA to seek external legal advice and consult with both member associations.

Infantino assured an “extraordinary” FIFA Council meeting would convene before July 20 to address the matter, following a legal assessment that considers the claims of both Associations. Undoubtedly, the council’s decision will shape the future of Israeli football’s international participation.

About the Author

Jude Obafemi, THEWILL
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.

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