Infantino prevents FIFA membership from voting on Palestine motion to ban Israel

By Samindra Kunti in Bangkok

May 17 – FIFA will commission a ‘legal assessment’ of the conflict in the Middle East by a panel of ‘independent’ experts after the Palestinian FA (PFA) demanded sanctions be taken against the Israeli FA (IFA) at FIFA’s 74th Annual Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.

With calls from the floor of the congress to take the PFA resolution to a vote of the FIFA membership, president Gianni Infantino instead refused to allow a vote, saying that the matter comes under the competencies of the FIFA Council and will be dealt with there.

Infantino said that FIFA will convene a panel of legal experts to advise the FIFA Council. Within two months, an extraordinary Council meeting will be held to make a final decision on Palestinian claims that Israel is violating the FIFA statutes. Both sides will be allowed inputs.

Calling for unity, Infantino said: “I have a responsibility as president of FIFA, I have to apply the statutes and regulations whatever my convictions.”

He said that the three proposals of the PFA fell under the remit of the Council before mandating the expert panel. The Council reiterated that “football should never become hostage of politics and always remain a vector for peace; a source of hope; a force of good. uniting people rather than dividing.”

PFA president Jibril Rajoub (pictured) had taken to the floor calling for sanctions against Israel. He said: “We are witnessing a live televised genocide happening in Gaza.”

He reminded the FIFA electorate that 193 footballers have been killed in the war in Gaza and that Israel’s foreign minister had threatened him with imprisonment if he didn’t withdraw his motion.

“The Israeli Football Association is complicit in normalizing and legitimizing the illegal Israeli settlements enterprise,” said Rajoub. “This not only undermines the principles of international law but also sends a message that it’s acceptable to violate international law and ignore FIFA’s statutory objectives.

He appealed directly to the FIFA president, pointing out that the ball was in Infantino’s camp.

Rajoub said: “FIFA can’t afford to remain indifferent to these violations or the ongoing genocide in Gaza, just as it did not remain indifferent to numerous precedents.  The question here is how much more must the Palestine football family suffer for FIFA to act with the same urgency and severity as it did in other cases?”

Rajoub moved on to demand the temporary suspension of the IFA as a member of FIFA with immediate effect and closed his address with a simple question: “I ask you to stand on the right side of history and vote now.”

In response the IFA president Moshe Zuares addressed the floor, saying his life “has become hell” since October 7.

Zuares continued: “We are facing a cynical, political and hostile attempt by the Palestinian Association to harm Israeli football. Make no mistake, the IFA never violated rules set by FIFA or UEFA and will never do it.”

He accused the PFA of playing politics: “The proposal submitted by Palestinian FA has absolutely nothing to do with the IFA and its activity.”

Instead, Zuares proposed a match between Israel and Palestine when the time is right.

A nice idea if Palestine will have anyone left alive and forgiving enough to select from.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1719307251labto1719307251ofdlr1719307251owedi1719307251sni@n1719307251osloh1719307251cin.l1719307251uap1719307251