Creating new perspectives since 2009

FIFA orders legal review of Palestinian call to suspend Israel

May 17, 2024 at 5:11 pm

Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA speaks on stage during the 74th FIFA Congress 2024 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) on May 17, 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand. [Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images]

Football’s world body FIFA today ordered an urgent legal evaluation of a proposal by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) to suspend Israel over the war on Gaza, promising to address it at an extraordinary meeting of its council in July, Reuters reports.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino took the decision at an annual Congress in Bangkok, where the PFA president made an emotional plea to delegates to hold a vote to suspend Israel from all club and national competitions, accusing it of multiple breaches of FIFA statutes.

The Palestinian proposal accuses the Israel Football Association (IFA) of complicity in violations of international law by the Israeli government, discrimination against Arab players, and inclusion in its league of clubs located in occupied Palestinian territories. The IFA rejected that. Israel’s right-wing government does not acknowledge that settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law and seeks to annex them.

The request for sanctions against the IFA comes two years after FIFA’s decision to suspend Russia from international competitions over its invasion of Ukraine.

“FIFA cannot afford to remain indifferent to these violations or to the ongoing genocide in Palestine, just as it did not remain indifferent to numerous precedents,” PFA President Jibril Rajoub said.

How much more must the Palestinian football family suffer for FIFA to act with the same urgency and severity as it did in other cases? Does FIFA consider some wars to be more important than others and some victims to be more significant?

Israel has killed more than 35,200 Palestinians since 7 October and injured 77,000 more in the Gaza Strip.

Rajoub said among those killed are 193 Palestinian players, while football infrastructure has been destroyed, its leagues suspended and its national team required to play World Cup qualifiers abroad.

READ: Israel settlers set fire to truck after mistakenly assuming it had aid for Gaza