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Gaza Conflict: Fifa to make Legal Assessment on Israel Suspension

Palestinian Football Association put in a proposal to suspend Israel Football team from Fifa.

FIFA is set to undertake a legal Assessment to determine whether it will honor the Palestinian Football Association’s (PFA) request to suspend the Israeli federation due to the continuing conflict in Gaza. This significant decision follows the PFA’s call for a vote at FIFA’s congress in Bangkok, which received backing from the Jordanian Football Association.

Background and Current Situation

The conflict escalated following a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, which the outcome in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and over 252 hostages. In retaliation, Israel’s offensive in Gaza has led to over 34,000 fatalities, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry. This turmoil has deeply affected the Palestinian football community, prompting the PFA to call for decisive action from FIFA.

Palestinian Federation’s Plea

Jibril Rajoub, the president of the PFA, made a poignant appeal, highlighting the suffering of millions, including thousands of footballers, due to the ongoing conflict. Rajoub urged FIFA to act with the same severity and urgency as it has in other cases, questioning whether FIFA values some conflicts and victims over others.

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

Israeli Federation’s Response

Shino Moshe Zuares, the president of the Israel Football Association, countered the PFA’s claims, describing them as a cynical political move aimed at harming Israeli football. He emphasized the disruption to Israeli football, with matches unplayable in large parts of the country and over 130 Israelis still held captive in Gaza.

FIFA’s Stance and Next Steps

FIFA President Gianni Infantino stressed that the organization should not become a hostage to politics and should remain a force for peace and unity. He confirmed that a legal assessment of the PFA’s allegations would be conducted urgently. The FIFA Council will convene an extraordinary congress in late July to address the issue, considering inputs and claims from both member associations.

“Football should not and should never become a hostage for politics and always remain a vector for peace, a source of hope, a force of good, uniting people rather than dividing,” Infantino stated.

Amidst these pressing issues, FIFA is also facing legal threats over its plans for a 32-team men’s Club World Cup next summer. The players’ union Fifpro and the World Leagues Association (WLA) have raised concerns about the oversaturated global football calendar, asserting that players are being overworked.

Infantino dismissed these concerns, arguing that FIFA’s involvement is minimal compared to other organizations. He emphasized that FIFA’s tournaments finance football globally, supporting 211 countries.

“Even with the new Club World Cup of FIFA with 32 teams and 63 matches every four years, FIFA is organizing around 1% of the games of the top clubs in the world,” Infantino explained. “The revenues that we generate are not just going to a few clubs in one country. The revenues that we generate are going to 211 countries all over the world.”

As FIFA prepares for a legal assessment regarding the suspension of the Israeli federation, the global football community watches closely. This decision will notably impact not only the federations involved but also FIFA’s role in managing conflicts and ensuring football remains a unifying force in times of global turmoil.

Tags: Gaza Conflict, Israel Suspension

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