March 20 – The head of Palestine Football Association (PFA) Jibril Rajoub has re-iterated that he will not agree to any further compromises if FIFA continues to drag its feet over the festering dispute regarding Israeli conduct in Middle East football.
Rajoub agreed at the 11th hour at last year’s FIFA congress to drop his call for Israel to be thrown out of FIFA, but is losing patience with FIFA’s mediation efforts, with still no sign of the promised findings over the thorny issue of Israeli clubs based in the occupied territories.
Rajoub told Al Jazeera he could not understand the delay describing it as a “fatal mistake” on the part of the FIFA council and the monitoring committee led by Tokyo Sexwale.
The PFA is set to meet the monitoring committee, set up almost two years ago, on Wednesday and progress needs to be made over the status of six clubs based in Israeli settlements ahead of the FIFA Congress in May where the committee’s mandate is set to expire.
The PFA says that the Israeli Football Association (IFA) is violating FIFA statutes by establishing clubs on the territory of another member association without permission.
“Now, we have the last meeting and we have to explain our position,” said Rajoub. “If they are going to solve this issue – OK. If not, we have no other choice: we will go to the congress next May in Bahrain and ask for the imposition of sanctions against the Israeli federation.”
Rajoub says FIFA will eventually have to enforce its own rules.
“I think Tokyo … is committed to his mission. I think he is trying and I am sure he will act according to the statutes of FIFA. There is no other choice. Whoever is pushing for the delay, I don’t think that will lead to any benefit for him. Let’s go to the (Wednesday) meeting and, if there is no solution, May is very, very close.”
Sari Bashi, the Israel/Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, says FIFA is ignoring “clear precedents.”
“The most recent example was Crimea, where it took just a few months for UEFA, the European Federation, to require Russia to stop including teams from occupied Crimea in its national league,” Bashi told Al Jazeera.
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