Group of European MEPs call on FIFA and UEFA to ban Israel from football

February 16 – A group of Members of the European Parliament has written to FIFA and UEFA demanding Israel be banned from international football over the ongoing war in Gaza.

In a letter addressed to the European Confederation and the World Federation, 13 MEPs called for the “immediate expulsion, as a measure of pressure, of the Israeli national team and the rest of Israeli teams from all European and international competition until this genocide ends”, arguing that “Sport cannot serve as a display for those who violate the most essential rights of an entire population.”

They cite ‘continuing human rights violations in Palestine’ as the reason for the call to ban Israel. The letter adds: “Fifa and Uefa claim to promote the values of equality, respect and human rights through football. All of these are undoubtedly being violated in Gaza today.”

Manu Pineda, Javier Nart, Ana Miranda, Maria Palop, Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Miguel Urban, Luke Flanagan, Esther Sanz, Idoia Villaneuva, Marc Botenga, Chris MacManus and Martin Buschmann signed the letter.

Football bodies have largely remained silent on the war in Gaza, which followed the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas. Earlier this month, the president of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, wrote to FIFA and all member federations with a call to “isolate” Israel.

FIFA has shrouded itself in silence, a sharp contrast with the statement Zurich issued shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine.

UEFA secretary-general Theodore Theodoridis argued at a recent news conference that Israel is an entirely different case from Russia. “There was no such discussion or such intention from the Uefa administration,” said Theodoridis.

“There are two completely different situations between the two countries. Don’t forget the start of the war in Russia and Ukraine and the start of what is happening now – which is regrettable, of course – in the Middle East.”

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