FIFA president Sepp Blatter will try one final time to prevent a motion being voted for at their Congress on 29 May which is calling on suspending Israel from international football.
Blatter met the leaders of both the Israeli and Palestian Football Associations, Ofer Eini and Jibril Rajoub, on Sunday at FIFA headquarters and will travel to the Middle East over the next couple of days to try and thrash out a deal which would prevent the motion being voted on at the end of the month.
FIFA released a statement on Sunday saying: “both member associations agreed to pursue the dialogue” and that Blatter “will travel to Israel and Palestine to meet their respective FA presidents and heads of state ahead of FIFA Congress.”
Eini has already said he’ll be writing to the 209 member associations of FIFA, asking them to reject the motion, and speaking after Sunday’s meeting, said: “I’m a little more optimistic today but it does not change anything in our preparation for the possibility of a vote in Congress … Our argument remains clear, that this is an attempt to involve politics and sports and there is no place for such a move. It is clear to me that most FIFA members understand very well the intention behind this Palestinian move and the destructive impact it would have.”
However, Rajoub remains unmoved, saying: “It’s clear that the Israeli Soccer Association is not willing to recognise the PFA as a federation with equal rights and obligations, just as they continue to violate their commitments made before FIFA. We are therefore determined to continue our path to suspend the Israeli Soccer Association during the next FIFA Congress.”