By Andrew Warshaw
November 16 – An Israeli-based media watchdog is urging FIFA to throw the book at the head of Palestinian football for comparing Israel to a Nazi state in the latest escalation of Middle East footballing tensions.
Last month, FIFA controversially closed down its mediation initiative in the region by throwing out a detailed report from its chief negotiator Tokyo Sexwale and announcing that Israel would face no sanctions over its controversial football-related conduct in the occupied territories.
The ruling drew a fierce rebuke from Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub (pictured) who accused FIFA of deceit and of breaking its own statutes.
Israeli sympathisers have long viewed Rajoub as a supporter of terrorism and the Palestinian Media Watch group has now written to the head of FIFA’s disciplinary committee, Justice Anin Yeboah, denouncing Rajoub’s choice of language at a recent press conference and claiming he is the one breaking FIFA statutes.
In their letter to FIFA, Palestinian Media Watch cited comments made by Rajoub at the October 29 media briefing in which, PMW claims, the PFA leader accused Israel of having a “fascist governmental plan… that is typical of Nazism.”
“It is important to note,” the letter stated, “that this was not the first time Rajoub used denigratory and discriminatory language against Israel,” claiming that in the past he had referred to Israelis as “Satans” and “Zionist sons of bitches”.
PMW pointed out that a similar complaint made in March is still in FIFA’s in-tray and accuses world football’s governing body of giving Rajoub preferential treatment in terms of applying ethical sanctions.
“The inaction of FIFA, and specifically the Disciplinary Committee, against Rajoub is inexplicable,” says the latest grievance. “Had any other president of a national football association made comparable statements against other ethnic minorities, we are certain that the Disciplinary Committee would have taken action immediately. “
“We therefore call on the Disciplinary Committee to take immediate action against Rajoub, based not only on the current complaint but also on our previous complaints against Rajoub and the PFA.”
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