Palestine wants Crimea-style solution in football dispute with Israel

25th Nov 2016
Palestine wants Crimea-style solution in football dispute with Israel

Palestinian FA President, Jibril Rajoub, wants FIFA to adopt a Crimea-style solution to prevent Israeli league clubs from being based in illegal settlements in the West Bank

Nadine Osman

The Palestinian FA has warned it will attempt to have Israel punished by the Court of Arbitration for Sport if football’s governing body FIFA fails to stop Israeli clubs from operating in the Occupied West Bank.

The head of PFA wants FIFA to adopt what he called a Crimea-style solution to prevent Israeli league clubs from being based in illegal settlements in the West Bank. After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, European football body UEFA banned Crimean clubs from moving to the Russian league and instead authorized them to set up their own competition.

At FIFA Council meeting, officials failed to take a decisive stand despite the intervention of the UN who have stated their opposition to six small-time Israeli clubs playing in the West Bank settlements, considered illegal under international law.

On November 1 FIFA brought the two parties together for talks, however the talks failed. PFA President, Jibril Rajoub, said, “Israel didn’t even come up with any serious argument. I don’t think there will be any agreement.”

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has charged South African businessman and anti-apartheid leader Tokyo Sexwale to lead a monitoring committee trying to forge an agreement on the dispute.

Rajoub said the PFA continues to “trust” FIFA and will wait for the body’s council to make a definitive ruling on the dispute, which could come when the council meets next in January. Rajoub vowed to take the fight further.

“If they are not going forward, we can go to the CAS. We will not give up. We will never accept any compromise.”

Rajoub also said restrictions on the movement of players between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip continued to be an issue. “The situation is going from bad to worse, nothing is changing,” he said.

 

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