Palestine FA sends FIFA agenda item calling for Israel to be sanctioned at May Congress

March 19 – In a letter to FIFA, the Palestine Football Association (PFA) has demanded that Congress consider “appropriate” sanctions against the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and its clubs because of “unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations” in the war on Gaza. 

The letter, sent on March 11, proposes an item for the FIFA Congress agenda calling for the FIFA membership to address the crisis in Gaza that has brought Palestinian life and football almost to a complete standstill at its May meeting.

The PFA motion has the support of six member associations, but it is understood that Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia do not back the proposal, which refrains from using the word ‘ban’.

In the letter, the PFA wrote that it “brings forth a proposal to address the unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Israel and the complicity manifest in the Israel Football Association’s (IFA) continued inclusion, in its national league, of football teams located on the territory of another association.”

The PFA invokes articles 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the FIFA statutes, citing the governing body’s human rights commitments, as well as FIFA’s Human Rights Policy. The Palestinian body also points to articles 71 and 72 of the FIFA statutes to denounce the existence of five settlement clubs in Palestinian territory.

The letter argues that IFA is “complicit in the Israeli government’s violations against Palestinian football.”

The proposal highlights the destruction of the Yarmuk Stadium, a ground of historic importance to Palestine that became infamous recently when images emerged of men and boys being stripped naked by Israeli soldiers.

The PFA letter says: “All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed or seriously damaged, including the historical stadium of Al-Yarmuk which was turned by the Israeli occupation into a concentration camp as documented by more than one international organization. Israeli bulldozers dug up the pitch just to destroy it. Smaller facilities and dirt

pitches have been transformed into makeshift refugee camps, field hospitals, and mass graves.”

It is not the first time that the PFA has made an orchestrated push to put the Palestinian cause on the agenda of the global game, withdrawing a motion for the suspension of Israel in a dramatic congress in 2015. In 2017 FIFA president Gianni Infantino and his Council disregarded the findings of the report by the FIFA Monitoring Committee, led by Tokyo Sexwale, declaring the matter “closed” and that it “will not be the subject of any further discussion until the legal and/or de facto framework has changed.”

Following the terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7, Infantino sent a letter of condolence to IFA. However, FIFA has maintained a deafening silence about the war in Gaza. In contrast, the global governing body moved quickly to ban Russia from the game following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The FIFA Congress will take place on May 17 in Bangkok, Thailand. The agenda for the Congress that will see FIFA award the hosting rights of the 2027 Women’s World Cup, has not yet been released.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1721495361labto1721495361ofdlr1721495361owedi1721495361sni@i1721495361tnuk.1721495361ardni1721495361mas1721495361

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