The head of the Palestine Football Association came under fire for withdrawing a request to suspend Israel from FIFA, the international soccer body.
In their rush to declare victory in the FIFA fight, Israeli politicians seemed to ignore the irony of charging a prominent anti-apartheid activist with adjudicating Palestinian claims of Israeli discrimination.
FIFA’s corruption scandal has added to Israel’s concerns that it could lose a looming vote in world soccer’s governing body on a Palestinian proposal to suspend it from international soccer.
The corruption allegations against the world soccer body FIFA are damning, but frankly, they couldn’t have come at a better time for Israel. With the world distracted, the Palestinians’ long-shot bid to get Israel suspended looks even less likely.
The head of world soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday Israel had proposed easing travel restrictions for Palestinian players but the head of the Palestine FA insisted he would pursue a move to have Israel suspended from FIFA.
On top of land, settlements, resources and borders, Israel and the Palestinians can add another dispute to their long history of conflict - soccer.
The world soccer federation’s boss, Sepp Blatter, is preparing to travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah in a bid to resolve a dispute over a Palestinian effort to have Israel banned from the association.
The head of the Palestinian Football Association reinforced his call for Israel to be suspended from FIFA on Thursday, saying the Israeli Football Association was part of an “apartheid, racist government” that was damaging Palestinian soccer.
The president of FIFA reiterated that Israel will not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body.
Israel’s top soccer administrators will meet FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Zurich on Wednesday in a late bid to avert a vote called by the Palestinians to suspend Israel from the world body.