Creating new perspectives since 2009

Australia government plays blame game after denying visa to Palestine football head

June 10, 2024 at 3:03 pm

The head of Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub. [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

The Australian government is playing a blame game after denying a visa to the head of Palestinian Football Association, Anadolu Agency reports.

The visitors are set to play hosts Tuesday in Perth, SBS News reported on Monday.

“These decisions are made at arm’s length by the bodies, by the Immigration Department,” Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, said, referring to denial of visa to Jibril Rajoub.

The Palestinian squad reached Perth on Saturday, but without Jibril Rajoub, who is also a politician and chairs the Palestine Olympic Committee.

Authorities at the Football Australia said: “The decision was a matter for the government and the organisation provides visa support to all visiting football delegations.”

READ: Haniyeh says Nuseirat massacre confirms need for permanent ceasefire deal

The country’s Interior Affairs Department said: “All non-citizens applying for visas are considered on an individual basis against migration legislation.”

The decision comes against the backdrop of widespread demonstrations against Israel’s war on Gaza.

In a press conference held today in Ramallah, Rajoub said the Australian authorities had told him the ban was “because I was a former prisoner and a member of a ‘terrorist organisation’.”

“The truth is that my entry was prevented under Israeli pressure, as I had previously entered Australia twice,” he added. Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, has previously threatened Rajoub with imprisonment over the Palestinian Football Association’s request for FIFA to impose sanctions on Israeli clubs and the Israeli Football Association, due to “serious human rights violations committed by Israel.”

Earlier in March, the Australian government had cancelled visas to fleeing Palestinians from Gaza.

Police on Sunday used pepper gas to break pro-Palestine demonstrations in Melbourne city.

People in the country have held demonstrations against Australia’s support and arms supplies to Tel Aviv as well as Israel’s war on Gaza.

At least two students were expelled from Australian National University and 10 others were disciplined over pro-Palestinian protests and statements on campus.

The Albanese government has faced intense criticism for its stand on Palestine, with calls on Canberra to end arms supplies to Israel.

READ: Qatar insists that Israeli exceptionalism must end