Tuesday, 18 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Palestinians call for Israeli ban as Gaza war spills into football

Published : Saturday, 18 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 116

BANGKOK, MAY 17: The war in Gaza came to the fore at world footballs biggest meeting on Friday as the Palestinian association called for Israel to be immediately suspended from FIFA.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino told the congress in Bangkok that the sports global governing body will take independent legal advice to consider the Palestinian demand.

The Palestine Football Association (PFA) and its backers had hoped there would be an immediate vote on a possible ban, which has the support of the Asian Football Confederation, of which it is a member.

Israel called the ban call "cynical".

But Infantino said: "FIFA will mandate as of now an independent legal expertise to assess the three requests made by the Palestinian football association and make sure that the status and regulations of FIFA are applied in the correct way.

"Due to the urgency of the situation, an extraordinary FIFA council will be convened and take place before July 20 of this year to review the results of the assessment and take the decisions that are appropriate."

PFA head Jibril Rajoub minutes earlier took the stage in the Thai capital to demand Israels "immediate" suspension.

He said the Israeli FA (IFA) had broken FIFA rules, saying: "FIFA cannot afford to remain indifferent to these violations or to the ongoing genocide in Palestine."

Rajoubs demand came after the PFA said in March it would bring the matter to the congress.

The PFA has voiced its unhappiness with some specific incidents, including a case in which Israeli media footage showed scores of stripped Palestinians, including children, detained in Gaza Citys Yarmouk stadium in December 2023.

The PFA in March also called on FIFA to address "the inclusion of football teams located in the territory of another association, namely Palestine, in its national association".

At least five football clubs based in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are members of the Israeli Football Association.

The settlements are illegal under international law.

The representative of Jordan stood up to back the Palestinian demand and call for an immediate vote by the congress, a call rejected by Infantino, who said it must be handled by FIFAs council -- its regular decision-making body.    —AFP

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