Football Football

Palestine boss urges FIFA to red card Israel


PALESTINE-BOSSMANILA, November 30- The head of the Palestinian Football Association on Sunday called for FIFA to suspend Israel over a raid on the body’s offices which also drew a strong response from Asian soccer authorities.

Jibril Al Rajoub said the world body should give a “red card” to Israel following last week’s raid on the soccer organisation’s headquarters in the West Bank.

He spoke as Palestine was named team of the year at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awards night in Manila, following their victory in this year’s AFC Challenge Cup.

“I think it’s time to take sanctions. What happened last week had no precedence in the history of sport,” Al Rajoub told journalists.

“I don’t think the Israelis have the right to enjoy the status and at the same time deprive others… It’s time FIFA should raise the red card,” he added.

The AFC earlier denounced Israel’s raid, with its president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa calling the action “intolerable and unacceptable”.

Al Rajoub said three armoured cars drew up outside the Palestinian FA offices, where Israeli forces confronted staff and checked documents before leaving about 40 minutes later.

He added he was concerned travel restrictions would prevent Palestine from sending a full-strength team to January’s Asian Cup in Australia, their first major tournament.

“I’m sure that some of them will not (be allowed to travel). Even when we played the Challenge Cup, six players were prevented,” Al Rajoub said.

“I hope we can take everybody but in spite of that we have no other choice. We have determination and we will continue no matter whether the Israelis will allow everyone to come.”

The Palestinians gained entry to the Asian Cup, the continent’s top international competition, by winning the AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives in May.