Israel refuses to play a beautiful game

April 30, 2015
Sarah Benton
Tags: , , ,

This posting has been updated and now has these items:

1) EUroPalestine:Stop racism in football: Israel out of FIFA!, lengthy piece about all you can do from sending emails to driving to Zurich.
2) Inside World Football: Israeli NGO hits back at Palestinians calling for suspension of ‘terrorist’ Rajoub, little support for Israel’s position in the game’s international publication;
3) AFP/Ma’an: Blatter opposes Palestinian bid to bar Israel from FIFA;
4) Vice Sports: Israel and Palestine are taking their fight to FIFA pretty thorough account from Aaron Gordon which, despite headline, does not see Israel and Palestine as having the same powers;
5) JfJfP: Letter to Fifa from JfJfP EC re the Israeli Football Association;

Seb Blatter with well-known ‘terrorist’ Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation and the Palestine Olympic Committee. While Rajoub was in prison for throwing a grenade at an army bus he learned Hebrew and translated The Revolt by another former terrorist, Menachem Begin, into Arabic.

Stop racism in football: Israel out of FIFA!

Posted by EuroPalestine
April 2014

A broad campaign to ask  FIFA (International Football Federation) to expel Israel, until that State stops its practice of  apartheid, ethnic cleansing, the killing of people, the destruction of Palestinian football stadiums and persecution, even the assassination of Palestinian footballers, has been launched internationally. We urge you to participate.

It is indeed important to remind members of FIFA, who will meet in annual conference in Zurich on 28 and 29 May, that their own regulations prohibit racism and apartheid, and that by agreeing to integrate Israel in international competitions, they encourage the occupation, colonization and all war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

As for South Africa of apartheid, which was excluded from FIFA in 1976, we must not allow Israel to whitewash its crimes and give a normal democratic country image, making him the honor to participate in international sports championships.

The image of the entire football world is made  dirty if a state that has behaved this way for so long, is rewarded rather than punished.

It is therefore important that we plan to send this message to FIFA members who will meet soon so that they know that millions of people around the world want  FREE FOOTBALL  not marred by racism and crimes.

You will find at the bottom of the letter below, not only its first signatories, including bt Israels, but also an overview of the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian footballers.

If you agree with this letter, PLEASE SEND IT TO THE PRESIDENT OF FIFA: @ President and christine.botta @
(Complete details FIFA below)

And circulate it as widely as possible. Share it with your friends as widely as possible and your group’s Facebook page:
Associations, unions, collective and committee who wish to add their signatures are welcome to do so by writing to StopracismeFIFA @

Posted by EuroPalestine

Dear President Blatter, dear delegates,

June 16, 1976, millions of men and women of the black majority of the country, as well as other oppressed ethnic groups in South Africa, joyfully greeted the decision of FIFA, attending a conference in Montreal, would lead to the collapse of the shameful system of apartheid.

By 9 votes against one, in fact, the direction of FIFA decided the expulsion of South Africa, ending 15 years of delaying tactics initiated by Sir Stanley Rous, in which the apartheid practiced redoubled brutality, murdering thousands of people, including many children.

Yet South African personalities such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize Desmond Tutu or the former minister Ronnie Kasrils, all of which have dealt with the misdeeds of this regime, felt that the Israeli apartheid is worse than was the South African apartheid.

For 7 weeks in July and August 2014, the Israeli army killed no fewer than 2,200 Palestinians, including 538 children, day and night; it has maimed thousands more, and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Even in his most bloodthirsty conducted as the notorious killings in Soweto, South African apartheid was not approached, far from it, such “performance.”

And it’s not you, Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, we recall that it is precisely the Soweto massacre that led FIFA in 1976 to decide to ban South Africa ranks of your organization.

Israel continues to demolish illegally, houses, schools, hospitals, wells, olive groves, and drive the Palestinians out of the land that they were born. The ethnic cleansing continues business for 67 years now.

As you know, Israel targeted, killed, wounded and imprisoned many Palestinian footballers, who are routinely denied any possibility of moving inside and outside of occupied Palestine, be it for their training or for competitions. Similarly, the Israeli army destroyed several football stadiums repeatedly; and of course, supporters and spectators are prevented from moving to attend matches.

Football in South Africa of apartheid, was also subjected to a series of racist and discriminatory rules. But we did not find this attack system organized by Israel against the players, sports managers, facilities and fans, as we observe today in occupied Palestine.

Attached as an appendix to this, a list, not exhaustive, Israeli attacks on the Palestinian world football.

That’s why we ask you to apply the FIFA rules that prohibit racism within it require fair play and can not admit that its own members tramples without sullying the image and reputation of the global football community.

In the absence of sanctions, Israel does not end its criminal activities. The “reward” given to Israel, to whom was entrusted the organization of the championship finals of the UEFA Under 21 in 2013, caused largely justified indignation; It is in this context that UEFA has given up the idea of ​​selecting Israel as co-organizer of the 2020 UEFA Championship, following numerous protests from Europe to the announcement of the project.

The State of Israel borders the Israeli Football Association (IFA), and uses it to show Israel in a positive light, as a democratic country where the Palestinians under occupation athletes have equal rights, a lie that the IFA never denounced. Unlimited participation of Israel in international competitions and membership in FIFA are sending a problem of acceptance of its political message and implicitly recognize its criminal policy. The fact that Israel is responsible for a policy of apartheid, colonization and ethnic cleansing, is not debatable. UN experts claim. However, the International Convention against Apartheid in Sport, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1985, states: “sporting relations with any country that practices apartheid in sport and strengthen tolerate apartheid . »

There is not that the Palestinian Football Association asking you to exclude Israeli Apartheid FIFA. Many men and women of conscience all over the world, including Israelis terrified by the criminal acts of their own state, and who see no other way than sanctions to end the occupation, you ask for .

Finally, remember that the national team of Palestine is being unable to organize competitions on its own soil, because of the many Israeli military checkpoints that prevent players to move and the Gaza blockade.

But its resistance to adversity remains intact: despite all the obstacles, and the ban imposed by Israel on several of its players to travel, this team managed the performance to qualify for the finals of Asia Cup in 2015 in Australia.

Do not forget that it is precisely the abolition of apartheid, which opened the way to the glorious development of South African football: FIFA reinstated in 1992, South Africa is organizing the first cut of the continent in 1996 and won the trophy in front of Nelson Mandela and 80,000 enthusiastic spectators.

So, dear President Blatter, dear delegates, you will honor respecting the rules of FIFA and showing the world your fairness and your rejection of racism. The world of football should not keep away from law and justice.

We stand for our part at your disposal to meet you, and so you can expose more detail the monstrous reality of fate by Israeli leaders to the Palestinian football.

In the meantime, please receive Dear Mr. Blatter, Distinguished Delegates, the assurance of our consideration.

Very partial list of Israeli atrocities on Palestinian soccer:

Apartheid applied to football resulted in the  incarceration without trial or even charge members of the Palestinian National team: this was the fate of Mahmoud Sarsak, tortured and held for nearly three years before President Sepp Blatter FIFA intervenesd and helped his release. But UEFA, of which Israel is still a member, did not lift a finger. Mahmoud Sarsak was the darling of the Gaza Strip. Nicknamed “Lionel Messi Palestinian” his talents promised him a bright future. But after three years of inhumane treatment and the strike of 92 days hunger which allowed to draw international attention to his fate, he was forced to give up any prospect of playing as a professional.

Omar Abu Rouis, goalkeeper of the Palestinian Olympic team and Mohammed Nimr, football player in Al Amari in Ramallah club, imprisoned without charge or trial in February 2012.

In September 2014, Farouk Assi, international football referee accredited to FIFA, was arrested at a checkpoint of the army of occupation in Beit Leghia (between Jerusalem and Ramallah, West Bank), handcuffed, blinded by a headband, while he was officiating a semi-pro Jericho match. (Video available)

In November 2012, the Israeli army killed 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he playing football.

January 31, 2014, the soldiers fired no less than 11 times in the legs of young footballers Jawhar Jahwar Nasser, 19, and Adam Abd Raouf Halabiya  17 years old. They will never playmagain.

March 10, 2014, the army mortally wounded  footballer Saji Darwish.

July 16, 2014, four children playing football on the beach in Gaza were murdered by an Israeli missile firing, under the eyes of correspondents around the world.

July 17, again in Gaza, three children under ten years were w[onded by Israeli gunfire while playing football on the terrace of their house

On July 30, the most famous football commentator of Palestine, Ahmed Zaqout, 49, was killed in the bombing of his house at night.

On 8 August 2014, Mohammad Ahmad al-Qatari and Uday Caber, two footballers aged 20, were killed.

The national stadium was bombed and destroyed several times.
The Islami club, Qalqilya, was closed
On 25 November 2014, the offices of the Palestinian Football Association are attacked


Ronnie Kasrils (South Africa)

Ken Loach (UK)

Susan Abulhawa (USA)

Larissa Sansour (UK)


Football Against Apartheid (UK)

Red Card Israeli Racism (UK)

Innovative Minds (Inminds UK)

BDS Switzerland

BDS Zurich (Switzerland)

BDS Bern (Switzerland)

Collectif Urgence Palestine (Switzerland)

Action UNIL-EPFL Palestine (Switzerland)

Anti-Capitalist Left (Switzerland)

Switzerland-Palestine Association (ASP) (Gesellschaft Schweiz-Palästina) (Switzerland)

Action UNIL-EPFL Palestine (Switzerland)

GREEN (Group student in ethnology of Neuchâtel – Switzerland)


Palestine Solidarity Committee / ISM-Seattle (USA

Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (USA)

Coalition to Stop $ 30 Billion to Israel (USA)

Coalition to Stop $ 30 Billion to Israel (USA)

Friends of Sabeel, Albuquerque (USA)

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

BIAC (Boycott Israel Apartheid Campaign) (Vancouver – Canada)

BDS-Vancouver (Canada)

Canada Palestine Association (Canada)

Voice of Palestine (Canada)

SPHR-UBC (Solidarity with Palestinians’ Human Rights, University of British Columbia-Canada)

United Front (South Africa)

Farid Esack (BDS South Africa)

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (South Africa)

Martin Luther King Group vzw (Congo)

Boycott from Within (Israel)

Alurdun Tuqate ‘/ BDS Jordan

Palestina Solidariteit (Solidarity Platform with Palestine in Flanders) (Belgium)

BDS Belgium

Palestine Committee Verviers (Belgium)

Citizen Movement Palestine (Belgium)

Belgian-Palestinian Association of Liège (Belgium)

Panthers Brussels (Belgium)

The coordination of women citizens (Belgium)

The Belgian-Palestinian Namuroise Coordination (Belgium)

Committee for a Just Peace in the Middle East (CPJPO – Luxembourg)

European Campaign Against the Siege of Gaza

BDS Morocco

Solidaridad con Palestina (Uruguay)

Presencia Latinoamericana Consejo pro-Bolivia Europa

BDS Columbia


Australian Friends of Palestine (Australia)

BDS Adelaide (Australia)

Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand)

Forum Palestina (Italia)

Comitato per non dimenticare Sabra Shatila e (Italia)

Comitato per non dimenticare it diritto al ritorno (Italia)

Palestina Rossa (Italy)

Comitato con Palestina nel cuore (Roma- Italia)

BDS Italia

Lokomotiv Flegrea (football team the Naples area – Italia)

Invictapalestina (Italia)

BDS Berlin (Germany)

BDS Austria

Boykot Israel Denmark


Europalestine (France)

Droits Devant! (France)

ISM-France International Solidarity Movement (France)

Association of Palestinians in Ile de France

The Friends of Al-Rowwad (France)

With Nablus Association (France)

Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR – France)

The United Front of Immigrations and Popular Neighborhoods (FUIQP – France)

Women Against the Blockade of Gaza (France)

Collectif Palestine 69 (France)

UJFP 69 (France)

AFPS 69 (France)

Palestine Committee Poitevin (France)

Collective Jewish and Arab Citizens for Palestine (France)

Women for Peace (France)

Palestine Committee Chateaubriant (France)

Palestine Nanterre (France)

Palestine Saint-Ouen (France)

Collective Support Caladois the Palestinian People (France)

CNT (National Confederation of Labour) inter Villefranche (France)

Collective Freedom For Palestine (Belfort-Montbeliard France)

CRI Coalition against Racism and Islamophobia North Group Franche Comté (France)

Jordan Valley Solidarity Albertville (France)

Generation Palestine Lille (France)

Collective Free Palestine Toulouse (France)


Group Nonviolent Louis Lecoin (France)

Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación Palestina – RESCOP (Spain)
RESCOP consists of 40 pro-Palestinian organizations of the Spanish state (including BDS Catalunya):

Solidarnost Bosnia (Bosnia)

India Palestine Solidarity Forum (India)

Indian Dalit Intellectual Forum (India)

Pakistanis for Palestine (Pakistan)

And the collective ISRAELI OPPONENTS: Nitza Aminov, Ronnie Barkan, Moran Barir, Amitai Ben-Abba, Dany Bikovsky Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, co-founder of De-Colonizer, Eleanor Bronstein, co-founder of De-Colonizer, Umar al-Ghubari Yael Kahn, Ofer Neiman, Yaar Peretz, Adi Raz, Raz Renen, Yonatan Shapira, Inbal Sinai.


Fédération Internationale de Football Association

President Joseph S. Blatter

MAILING ADDRESS: FIFA-Strasse 20 PO Box 8044 – Zurich. Switzerland

EMAILS: president @ and @ christine.botta for management
You can send the letter in its entirety, or a message saying:

“I demand the expulsion of the Israeli occupation of FIFA until that State respects neither human rights nor the anti-racist and anti-rules FIFA apartheid. ”

Tel: + 41- (0) 43-222 7777 – Fax: + 41- (0) 43-222 7878 – (Site:

FOR FRANCE: noel.legraet @

Convoy of shared cars

Each convoy should reach Zurich 28 AND 29 May

If you can take this action it will demonstrate to all FIFA delegates our determination to insist on the observance of human rights and international law.

And please write to write: StopRacismeFIFA @
giving your contact details, your departure city, if you have a car or not.

Football: Palestinian Federation of Israel maintains its request for suspension


The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) Israel maintains its request for suspension of FIFA, which is statutorily listed on the agenda of the Congress of the International Federation on 28 and 29 May in Zurich.

“Sure, we’re under pressure, and the President of FIFA Sepp Blatter, with whom we have been speaking on the sidelines of the African Federation meeting in Cairo, get echoed,” the President of the PFA, Djibril Rajoub, in an exclusive interview with EuroPalestine.

“But as we have shown in the literature accompanying our formal request * Registration of the issue at the next Congress, Israel did not respond to the conciliation mechanisms devised at FIFA for over two years, continues his work of assault and destruction of the Palestinian, “he adds.

There will always be well-meaning souls be;ieving they should not mix sports and politics. Beautiful deception, if we look for a moment at the situation made by the Palestinian Football Israeli occupying power its territories.

Palestinian footballers when they are not arrested or killed by the Israeli army as there was still during the terrible offensive on Gaza in the summer of 2014, are routinely banned from travel, and the mere holding of a Training often is an achievement.

Conversely, flouting international law, clubs installed in illegal West Bank settlements are recorded automatically in the flowchart of Israeli Federation and participate in all of these competitions (championships, cups, tournaments …).

The Palestinians have been at least 5 clubs of active members of the Israeli settlers Federation: three of them are Beitar (from the most racist far right): Beitar Ariel, Beitar Ma’ale Adumim Givat Zeev and Beitar; there is also a club in the Valley of the colony occupied Jordan, Hapoel Bikoat H’Yarden, and a fifth, the Elizur Ironi Yehuda. Of course, these clubs, like the colonies which they emanate, to practice apartheid wildest. They are reserved for Jews only players.

The Israeli Federation, thus endorsing the apartheid policy of its government, do not hide, nor have the asked the goalie of the women’s national team, Sapir Kadori, to remove her portrait with a rifle in her hands.

And while she proudly poses with gun drawn and not with the ball, talented Palestinian footballers are imprisoned in Israeli jails.

After breaking the career of the young Mahmoud Sarsak, one of the rising stars of the Palestinian football, kidnapped by Israeli soldiers while on his way to a match, thrown in jail without charges and without trial, tortured, released after 3 years imprisonment and 92 days of hunger strike, other Palestinian footballers have regularly gone.

Mohamed Nimr has spent 1½ years in administrative detention. 18 long months without us having any information about him.

As for Omar Abu RUIS goalkeeper in the Palestinian national team, it rots for 3 years in Israeli prisons without that disturb any of the officials of the Israeli Football Association, or the apparent FIFA.

“The black record of the Israeli Federation is heavy, and our request is legitimate, because despite our patience, internally driven efforts to FIFA, nothing has advanced and we have no choice but to explain the problem to the World Assembly in Zürich “says Djibril Rajoub.

Sepp Blatter is coming in principle in the area next month, both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.

We’ll see. But for now, we obviously maintain our request for suspension of Israel, until that State has not met the minimum requirements set out in our letter. FIFA had indeed made the decision to exclude South Africa from apartheid in 1976, it should not give up the fight against racism, “says Djibril Rajoub.

For its part, the Association EuroPalestine is part of the international campaign “apartheid Red Card”, alongside many personalities and organizations around the world. The campaign “apartheid Red Card”, which calls for Israel’s expulsion of FIFA, called for a large demonstration on 28 and 29 May in Zurich, during the FIFA congress.

VIDEOS to CIRCULATE as widely as possible.






Dear President Joseph Blatter and FIFA Delegates,

On 16 June 1.976 billion of the black majorité –other and ethnic groups of people in South Africa Celebrated and applauded delegate access at the FIFA congress in Montreal, Canada, for Taking the decisive steps That lead to the collapse of the apartheid system of oppression in South Africa .

Delegates voted 9 to 1 to expel South Africa from FIFA After 15 years of prevarications and suspensions lead by Sir Stanley Rous, qui DURING the apartheid diet brutalized and killed milliers of The Most principled people on earth, Including school children.

HOWEVER Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the former government minister Ronnie Kasrils, all of Whom Experienced the brutality of this diet, Israeli apartheid state That is Far Worse Than South African apartheid ever WAS. Israel is guilty of far more serious Crimes Against Humanity.

DURING seven weeks in July / August 2014 the Israeli army killed over 2,200 Palestinians, 538 of Whom Were children, mutilated and left more milliers 28,000 homeless. Even at icts worst times, like the killings in Soweto, South African apartheid never even close to this latest Israeli cam “performance”. HOWEVER, need we Remind You, dear President and delegate access, That It Was PRECISELY the Soweto Massacre That lead FIFA in 1976 to expel South Africa from your organization?

Israel continued to demolish homes, schools, Hospitals, wells, destroy olive groves, and expel Palestinians from the land is qui They Were born. The ethnic cleansing HAS endured for over 67 years now.

As you already know, Israel HAS Targeted, killed, jailed or MaiMed Many Palestinian football players, Who are aussi Regularly Prevented from circulating inside and outside occupied Palestine for training and playing for competitions, What is more, the Israeli army destroyed Palestinian HAS Repeatedly Football stadiums, and soccer fans and spectators Prevented from traveling to matches.

In apartheid South Africa, football aussi Was Subjected to Discriminatory and racist rules. There Was not this goal Sustained and systematic attack Israel Against Organized by players, officials, fans and facilities, as we-have Witnessed in occupied Palestine.

Attached you Will Find a list, by no means clustering full, of Israeli attacks, Against the Palestinian footballers.

Reasons for thesis we ask you to comply-with the FIFA rules qui exclude racism, require fair play and can not let one of ict members commit Such crimes without staining the picture and reputation of the Entire world of football.

Without sanctions, Israel Has No Reason to Stop Committing crimes thesis. Rewarding Israel with the prestige of organizing the UEFA Under 21 final in 2013, massively Was Condemned; and UEFA Recently Had to give up the idea of ​​a potential selection of Israel as an organizer of the 2020 UEFA championship, After Many protests in Europe.

The Israeli Football Association (IFA) acts under the authority of the State of Israel qui uses the IFA to give Israel a positive image, as a Democratic country Palestinian athletes Where Would Have equal rights. And IFA plays this game Without Any opposition. Unlimited participation of Israel in international sports and being white a member of FIFA, has Problematic send messages of acceptance of Israeli policy and implicitly rewards ict criminal actions. The fact That Israel is responsible for a policy of apartheid, colonization and ethnic cleansing, is no longer debatable. This is Asserted by UN experts. And the International Convention Against Apartheid in Sport, adopté by the UN General Assembly in December 1985 states: “Any contact sports with country practicing apartheid in sports condones and Strengthens apartheid”

It is not only the Palestinian Football Association That Is answer asking you to expel apartheid Israel from FIFA. Men and women of conscience THROUGHOUT the world, Including Israeli citoyens Who are disgusted by the criminal policy of Their Own State, aussi ask it, Because They see no way –other to put an end to the illegal occupation.

Finally, remember que la Palestinian national team is Prevented from organizing competitions on icts own soil, Because Of The Many Israeli military checkpoints That stop players from traveling, and Because of the blockade on Gaza.

Aim the Palestinian resistance Against All this adversity Remains intact, and Despite All the obstacles, this team managed to reach the qualifying round of the 2015 Asia Cup in Australia

Let it BE Recalled aussi que la abolition of the apartheid PRECISELY ouvert the way for the glorious development of soccer in South Africa; back in the FIFA in 1992 the national federation hosted the final round in AFCON 1996 Allowing the Bafana Bafana to win Their first title on home soil, in front of Nelson Mandela and 80,000 enthusiastic spectators.

So, dear President Blatter, dear delegate access, You Will honor Yourselves by Respecting the rules of FIFA and showing the world your fairness and your rejection of racism. The world of soccer shoulds not Be immune to justice and human rights.

For our part, We Would be happy to meet you, in order to explain in more detail the monstrous reality of the fate of Palestinian soccer at the hands of Israeli leaders.

In the Meantime, please receive dear Mr. Blatter, distinguished Delegates, the assurance of our consideration and best regards.

Yours sincerely,



This is a brief summary of reports of some of the recent attacks on Palestinian-have-been reported about soccer That:

• Apartheid in internment without trial soccer means clustering for members of the Palestinian national football team, Such As Mahmoud Sarsak Who Was tortured and emprisoned for 3 Years Before FIFA President Sepp Blatter intervened and Demanded His release. UEFA purpose of qui Israel is a member, Stood idly by. Mahmoud Sarsak Was much loved in Gaza. He Was nicknamed the “Lionel Messi of Palestinian football.” He Was expected to-have a brilliant career. Purpose After 3 years of inhumane treatment, and a hunger strike That Lasted 92 days, qui Helped Attract Attention from abroad, He Was Obliged to give up the possibility of Becoming a professional footballer.

• Omar Abu Rouis, goalkeeper of the Palestinian olympic team, and Mohammed Nimr, jfootball player in the Al Amari Club in Ramallah-have-been lailed Without Any expenses in February 2012

• In September 2014, Farouk Assi, international referee Credited by FIFA, is at an Israeli checkpoint arrêté at Beit Leghia (between Jerusalem and Ramallah, Westbank), handcuffed and blindfolded while He Was driving to Jericho in order to referee a semi-pro game (video available)

• In November 2012, Israeli soldiers shot dead 13 year old Ahmad Abu Daqqa whist playing football.

• On January 31, 2014, the young footballers Nasser Jawhar Jawhar (19) and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya (17) Were shot 11 times in the legs by Israeli soldiers. They Will never play again.

• On 10 March 2014 israeli soldiers shot and killed Saji Darwish.

• On 16 July 2014 Who Were oven children playing soccer on the beach in Gaza, killed by an israeli Were rocket.

• On 17 July 2014, in Gaza, 3 children under 10 Were shot dead while playing football on the terrace of Their house.

• On 30 July 2014, in Gaza, the national football icon and TV commentator Zaqout Ahed (49) Was Killed In His house by an israeli bomb.

• On 8 August 2014, in Gaza, Mohammad Ahmad al-Qatari and Uday Caber, both, aged 20 and Both footballers, Were shot dead.

• The National Stadium has-been bombed several times,

• The soccer club Islami in Qalqilya Was forced to close down.



President Joseph S. Blatter

BY POST:: FIFA-Strasse 20 PO Box 8044 – Zurich. Switzerland


– Chairman and christine.botta @ for the president

And if you need to Log in get in touch with this campaign organizers and join the trip to Zurich please Contact: StopRacismeFIFA @


Israeli NGO hits back at Palestinians calling for suspension of ‘terrorist’ Rajoub

By Andrew Warshaw, Inside World Football
April 23, 2015

A rightwing Israeli non-governmental organisation has stepped up the propaganda war of words over the treatment of Palestinian footballers in the West Bank and Gaza by blaming Palestinian football leader Jibril Rajoub for deliberately stirring up trouble.

Mattot Arim has responded to Rajoub’s call for Israel to be suspended by FIFA by urging world football’s governing body to expel Rajoub instead because, it claims, he is a front for promoting terrorism.

Responding to the demand for Israel to be thrown out of FIFA unless restrictions on Palestinian footballers travelling between the West bank and Gaza are lifted, Mattot Arim says such restrictions are necessary because of ongoing security concerns, accusing Rajoub of “openly mis-using sports competitions…as venues at which to praise terrorism and present murderers as desirable role models.”

In emailed correspondence containing extremely uncompromising language, Mattot Arim, formed in 1992, refutes what it describes as Rajoub’s “baseless accusations” saying the head of the Palestine Football Association is in no position to complain about racism because “he himself” has publicly referred to “Jews, Satans, Zionist sons of bitches.”

In its hard-hitting letter to FIFA, part of which has been seen by Insideworldfootball, Mattot Arim takes Rajoub to task on a number of issues. One of these is a claim that Rajoub personally opposed a match between Palestinian and Israeli children even though it was sponsored by the so-called Israeli Peres Centre for Peace.

“FIFA’s mission is ‘developing football for all…building a better future for all through football’,” the letter to FIFA says. “But Rajoub’s philosophy is exactly the opposite. Suspend Rajoub – not Israel.”

Whether Mattot Arim’s rant – similar in tone to many of Rajoub’s personal attacks on Israeli behaviour – can be taken seriously is open to question given its staunch rightwing status. But it illustrates the depth of feeling on both sides and comes at a highly sensitive time in FIFA’s attempts at mediation, with the FIFA Congress just over a month away.

Contact the writer of this story at

Blatter opposes Palestinian bid to bar Israel from FIFA

By AFP / Ma’an staff
April 09, 2015

CAIRO — FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Tuesday expressed his opposition to a Palestinian bid to bar Israel from international competition, saying such a move would harm football’s governing body itself.

Blatter is due to meet Palestinian Football Association (PFA) chief Jibril Rajoub in Cairo later Tuesday to discuss PFA calls for Israel to be suspended by FIFA for its “racist behaviour against Arabs.”

When asked by AFP at a press conference to comment on the PFA request, Blatter said that “such a situation shall not occur at the FIFA congress because suspension of a federation for any reason is always something which harms the whole organization.”

“I will meet Mr Jibril Rajoub, president of Palestine Football federation, later this afternoon. I can’t give you more details,” said the outgoing FIFA president who is seeking a fifth term in office at an election next month.

In its draft resolution asking Israel to be barred, the PFA also protested at the creation of “five clubs in settlements on land occupied since 1967, clubs participating in Israeli national championships in violation of international law.”

The PFA last called for Israel’s suspension in November after Israeli forces raided its headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israel has historically come under fire for discriminatory treatment and extensive restrictions on Palestinian players.

Critics have argued that Israeli policies significantly limit the team’s capacity for success on the field, the Palestinian National Football team routinely encountering restrictions from Israeli authorities, including rare instances for holding home games.
Players residing in the Gaza Strip are often barred from traveling to the West Bank for practices, and others at times detained during football-related travel. Shipments of sports equipment are delayed at Israeli checkpoints, sometimes never making it into the hands of the players.

Furthermore, the national team itself includes several who previously lived outside occupied Palestine. Due to restrictions and difficulties in obtaining exit visas from Israel for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, players are often drawn from Palestinian diaspora to play for the national team.

To be passed, the Palestinian resolution in response to Israeli policies must win the support of at least 156 other delegates at the 209-member FIFA congress.

Blatter is attending a two-day meeting of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo, which on Wednesday will choose a host country for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ma’an staff contributed to this report.

Israel and Palestine are taking their fight to FIFA

By Aaron Gordon, Vice Sports
April 09, 2015

At the end of May, the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) will officially submit to the FIFA Congress their request for sanctions against the Israeli Football Association (IFA) for a laundry list of infractions. Like every other aspect of the Israel-Palestine conflict, there is a deep, complex history behind the PFA-IFA conflict with no clear moral high ground. It’s a total and complete mess, and now FIFA is smack in the middle of it.

The PFA claims that Israel restricts the free movement of Palestinian players, staff, and officials. They also charge the IFA with stifling the development of Palestinian soccer by preventing the establishment of clubs in East Jerusalem, refusing to issue necessary permits for foreign delegation visits, “humiliating” treatment by Israeli security and border forces, and forcing the PFA to operate through the IFA, a violation of FIFA statutes.

Since the blockade of Gaza began in 2007, the Palestine national team has been unable to practice together. Hamada Shbair, a player residing in Gaza at the time, told James Montague in the excellent book When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone, “As a national team player, I’ve had big difficulties in playing because of the siege. I can’t play outside, to be the member of another team. I was offered chances in Jordan and Egypt, but I’m still here.”

For Palestine’s first ever home competitive match in 2011, Montague reported that eight of 12 Gazan players were refused entry to Ramallah—half of the starting lineup—and the team’s Tunisian coach, Mokhtar Tlili, was denied entry until the night before the match. According to Montague, even Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam was held at the Jordanian border for reasons unknown.

The travel restrictions that prevent Palestinian players from going abroad to hone their skills persist to this day. According to Susan Shalabi, director of the Palestine Football Association’s International Department, the problems are nothing new. “Nothing has changed, really. It’s as it always been before movement is restricted not only between the Northern and Southern Governorates (West Bank and Gaza), but also in and out of Palestine.” She says it’s hard to predict which players or officials Israel will allow to pass, making planning for matches near impossible. “The Israelis approve the application of one person and then reject him on another occasion which makes it look like the decision depends on the mood of the Israeli officer sitting on the desk that day.”

One of many posters and images produced in support of Mahmoud when he was on hunger strike in protest against being imprisoned without due process in 2012.

Perhaps the clearest, most representative case in the PFA’s charges is that of Mahmoud Sarsak, who tried to cross into the West Bank to join a team there. Instead, he was arrested under suspicion of partaking in a recent bombing. He was detained for three years without being charged. In 2012, he was freed as a result of his hunger strike and FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s personal lobbying for his release. Eventually, Sarsak returned to Gaza “having lost half his body weight,” according to Montague. It was never clear why he was arrested in the first place, although the PFA said his brother was a suspected Jihadi.

Not only are players, coaches, and officials subject to Israeli security whims, but so is equipment. “We have to go through very complicated red-tape procedures to get clearance for these goods,” Shalabi told me via email. “The goods often arrive after the match they are intended for is over, rendering them almost useless.” Further, Shalabi says obtaining a permit to build or renovate a stadium could take years, which makes it “very difficult for us to benefit from the FIFA Goal project money which expires in one year.” Shalabi says that adding stands to Majed Asaad Stadium in Al-Bireh took “years of negotiations, court action and international intervention.” As Shalabi tells it, all this red tape was because the fans cheering from the stands would “annoy the [Israeli] settlement on the next hill.”

Why would Israel do all of this? The IFA wouldn’t respond to my repeated requests for comment, but, like many other problems in the region, the issue is rooted in Israel security fears.

At the centre of the dispute—and Israel’s assumed justification for these actions— is the PFA president Jibril Rajoub, a man who wears many hats and offers contradictory statements, making him hard to pin down ideologically.

When he was 17, Rajoub tossed a grenade at an Israeli checkpoint. He was imprisoned for 18 years. According to Montague, Rajoub came out of prison “a very different man.” He now speaks Hebrew and, as Montague wrote, espouses the “virtues of non-violent action.” Rajoub has done incredible things for what was, even a decade ago, a virtually non-existent Palestinian soccer infrastructure. He was instrumental in the construction of Majed Asaad Stadium. He negotiated an easing of checkpoints so a new Palestinian pro league could be formed, and has been a strong figure in the Fatah political party, which is generally regarded as a more moderate group and is prominent in the West Bank’s push for statehood, as opposed to the more radical Hamas which controls Gaza. Rajoub is also the president of the Palestinian Olympic Committee.

The “new” Rajoub still elicits deep concerns from Israelis, though. In 2014, Rajoub stated on Palestinian television: “OK, brother, here is the occupation, am I stopping you from slaughtering a settlement? No one is stopping anyone…Our political decision is resistance in the occupied territories in order to bring an end to the occupation using all forms of resistance.” The year before, Rajoub—who has also publicly endorsed a two-state solution—told an Arab sports television show that “the whole of Palestine from the river to the sea, is occupied,” implying that all of Israel is merely “occupied Palestine.” Prior to that, Rajoub has allegedly called Jews “Satans” and “Zionist sons of bitches.” But most troubling were his remarks—which were widely reported by international news outlets—that “I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”

These suspicions of foul play and strong anti-Israeli sentiment extend to players as well. In June, Israeli operatives arrested Palestinian player Samah Maraabeh for allegedly meeting with a Hamas operative in Qatar and receiving a phone, money, and “written instructions that were to be passed on to Hamas contacts in the West Bank,” according to the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet.

This is the situation Sepp Blatter and FIFA must now address. On the one hand, the PFA has some very legitimate claims that the IFA and Israeli government are interfering with their organization and its development. Israel seems to believe that fully complying with FIFA rules could be putting itself in a position to be taken advantage of by people intending to harm the state of Israel. Israeli security forces—and some Israelis—believe Rajoub, the president of the PFA, is one of those people, which puts FIFA in an incredibly precarious position.

Of course, none of this is particularly new. So why is the PFA acting now?

For the past three years, a special FIFA task force—comprised of Sepp Blatter, the presidents of the Asian Football Confederation and UEFA (Israel was kicked out of the AFC in 1974 and joined UEFA in 1994), and liaisons from the IFA and PFA—has been working on this issue.

Shalabi was the PFA’s liaison to the FIFA task force and told me pointedly, “things did not improve. The IFA continue to assume the position of the Israeli political and military authorities.” When Israeli security forces raided the PFA offices last November, the IFA did not issue a statement. For the entire task force’s existence, the IFA has continued to force the PFA to “operate through the formal channels of the state of Israel,” which Shalabi considers a direct violation of FIFA Article 17 Point 1: “Each member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”

Things were better then. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Given that this is an Israel-Palestine issue, it should come as no surprise that there are no easy answers. Considering Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ramped up his antagonistic rhetoric, FIFA sanctions against Israel would likely have long-standing, unpredictable effects. But further inaction would only maintain the status quo, which would effectively condone the IFA’s actions (and inactions) thus far.

Back in 2013, Palestinian defender Nadim Barghouthi told Montague that soccer is “a perfect way to prove to the rest of the world that [Palestinians] are human beings. We are not terrorists. In the past, all the world thought that Palestinians threw stones. I consider the players to be soldiers without weapons. We are playing for freedom in Palestine.”

If nothing else, this is a further lesson that soccer diplomacy only goes so far, which isn’t very far at all. Soccer covers up conflicts; it doesn’t repair them. FIFA is no more of a peace-maker than it is a non-profit. It exists to profit off a global obsession, not to solve our most complicated diplomatic and militaristic quarrels. Soccer is just another battleground on which Israel and Palestine wage war.


Update: since the article was published, VICE Sports received the following response from the IFA:

Like in any other country the issue of movement of any one (be it a sportsmen or any other person) and the regulations and procedures in respect of entering the country (including the need of permits, Visas etc.) is a governmental matter which has nothing to do with IFA. The same goes to any other country in the world. Accusing the IFA of having any control on such things will be as absurd as accusing, for instance, US soccer or the Chinese football federation for the fact that a large number of sportsmen and football players entering to the USA or to China or to any other country need a visa as this is a requirement of the governmental authorities in each country. This has nothing to do with football. To the contrary, should the National Association have any control on such regulations it would have been a clear violation of the spirit and the statutes of FIFA in respect of the separation between football and politics. Saying that it should be noted that the IFA always suggested and will afford any assistance within its limited powers to assist if asked to do so. In this respect FIFA laid down, with full cooperation of IFA and the PFA a mechanism that is aimed in assisting to resolve specific cases and the IFA fully comply with this mechanism. This was confirmed again and again by FIFA. FIFA also suggested to both federations an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] in this respect which IFA was and still is willing to sign but the PFA is the one who refuses!

In response to the PFA’s claim that it is not a fully independent entity, the IFA replied:

This is a false allegation!! Like in other countries it is a fact that the PFA has to ask for permits etc. for the movement of Players and official between the two parts of the Palestinian authorities for the mere fact that this requires entering in Israel and therefore this movement, as in any other country is regulated by the national authorities and IFA has nothing to do with it. The same goes if there are any movement restrictions within the Palestinian authorities in specific cases. The IFA has nothing to do with it. However as explained in specific cases the IFA is happy to assist if possible and for this FIFA suggested a mechanism that is aimed in assisting to resolve specific cases and the IFA fully comply with this mechanism. This was confirmed again and again by FIFA.

Letter to Fifa from JfJfP EC re the Israeli Football Association, 24 April 2015

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