Football Football

Blatter hosts feuding Israeli and Palestinian FAs

Fifa president Sepp Blatter addresses the media in Manila, Philippines earlier this year. He hosted football bosses from Israel and Palestine FAs to resolve their dispute

PARIS, May 10- FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Sunday hosted the presidents of the Israeli and Palestinian Football Associations in Zurich for talks aimed at mending relations between the two parties.

The world game’s governing body said the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Palestinian FA’s request to suspend their Israeli counterparts at the upcoming FIFA congress.

FIFA added that “both member associations agreed to pursue the dialogue” after the talks involving PFA head Jibril Rajoub and his IFA counterpart Ofer Eini.

Blatter had previously spoken out against suspending the Israeli FA, saying at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) general assembly in Cairo last week: “Such a situation should not come up at the FIFA congress because the suspension of a federation, whatever the reason may be, is always damaging to the organisation as a whole.”

The Palestinians have denounced “the racist behaviour of Israel towards the Arabs” and the creation of “five clubs in settlements on land occupied by the Israelis since 1967, clubs who compete in Israeli competitions in violation of international law”.

They also accuse Israel of hindering sporting activities in the occupied territories, notably by imposing restrictions on movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and controlling imports of sporting equipment.

The PFA intend to present a resolution to the situation at the next FIFA congress, which starts on May 28, although they would need the backing of three-quarters of the 209 members to get it passed.

Blatter, meanwhile, stated that he intends to visit the presidents of both associations and the respective Heads of State before the FIFA Congress.