RAMALLAH, April 3, 2017 (WAFA) – The FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine has decided to give Israel a yellow card for six months to prove that it is adhering to FIFA rules and regulations, Jibril Rjoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), said on Monday.
The Monitoring Committee was established by FIFA to look into PFA complaints of mistreatment by the Israeli authorities and of violating rules that ban any FIFA member from playing in occupied territories.
Speaking at a press conference at PFA headquarters about the findings of the Monitoring Committee, Rjoub said the committee said in its report, which will be presented to the FIFA Congress, that Israeli violations against Palestinian sports and athletes are considered a violation of international sports and United Nations laws.
He said that if Israel does not change the way it treats Palestinian sports within six months, the recommendation will go to the Congress to take action against it.
Palestine had previously called for ousting the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA because of these violations, but later withdrew its request after the IFA agreed to push its government for better treatment of Palestinian athletes and FIFA agreed to form a committee to monitor Israeli actions and present a report to the FIFA Congress.
Rjoub said one item in the recommendations called for a meeting between the PFA and IFA to discuss the situation of Palestinian sports. However, he added, the PFA does not see a need for such meetings.
The PFA president said the recommendations could have taken a tougher stand from Israel, including recommending kicking IFA off FIFA since the committee found some serious Israeli violations.
He said the FIFA Congress will discuss these recommendations when it meets on May 11 in Bahrain and is expected to vote on them.
Rjoub said the Israeli response to the committee’s report included clear threats to the PFA if the committee continues in its work and saying that Israel will not allow anyone to tell it where its borders lie.
Israel was referring to the football teams playing games in the illegal settlements located in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Rjoub said the PFA is determined to bring a stop to all football games in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, and to demand that the PFA has the right to play abroad and receive football teams to play at home without any Israeli obstructions or interference.
Since Israel occupies the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, it has control over their air, land and sea borders and therefore no one enters or leaves these territories without its approval.
FIFA Monitoring Committee chairman, Tokyo Sexwale, visited Palestine and Israel in November of last year and held separate talks with officials on both sides regarding the situation of Palestinian sports under Israeli occupation and to update them on the work of the committee.