Almost 150,000 signatures have demanded international football’s governing body forces the Israel FA to eradicate six of its clubs, or be kicked out of FIFA altogether.
The six settlements in question are Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Givat Ze’ev, Oranit, the Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills and Kiryat Arba, and is not the first time similar efforts have been made to ban Israel from international football.
The Palestinian FA planned to bring a motion to ban Israel from FIFA at last year’s FIFA Congress, but a last minute compromise was voted on, which saw the creation of a monitoring committee to investigate issues affecting the development of football in the Palestinian territories, which has since seen visits made to both Israel and Palestine.
This latest petition has called on FIFA to “either remove the settlement football clubs from its membership or relocate them outside the illegal settlements.”
It adds: “If the Israeli Football Association doesn’t comply it must lose its membership with FIFA, as has been the case with other federations that have refused to accept FIFA’s fair play rules.
“There should be zero tolerance for the six teams that flagrantly ignore international law and operate in occupied territory. Settlement football teams legitimize the illegal occupation and condone the suffering the Palestinians face as a result.
“If enough of us raise our voices…we could push FIFA to hold the Israeli Football Association accountable.”
However, Israel Football Association spokesman Shlomi Barzel isn’t too worried about this latest attempt. He said: “The petition’s numbers sound large, but we’re talking about 150,000 out of how many people in the world?”
He added: “FIFA is a sports organisation and does not want to be politicised. If it suspends Israel because of territorial disputes, other countries will immediately line up with a similar request, such as Ukraine and Russia, he explained.
“I’m not so worried that Israel is going to be suspended.”