The chief of the Israel Football Association has proposed staging a ‘match for peace’ between Israel and Palestine, to use it as a tool to ‘bring people together’.
Ofer Eini suggested the idea prior to a vote taking place at FIFA’s annual Congress in Bahrain, where the Palestinian FA lost their bid to remove six Israeli teams from playing in the West Bank, after a 73 percent majority voted to delay the issue until next March.
Speaking to his Palestinian counterpart Jibril Rajoub, Eini said: “Let’s use football as a bridge to bring people together. Lets hold a football match between Palestinians and Israelis, that will be called the match for peace. All revenues will go to build a football school for Palestinians and Israelis. There should be soccer games everywhere.”
The PFA have said the clubs playing on its territory is in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbids another member association playing on another territory without permission. Accusing them on wanting FIFA to intervene in the political situation, Eini added: “What are you trying to do here, stop six teams of children from playing football? How will this resolve the Palestinian problems.”
In reply, Rajoub said: “football cannot serve as a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians as long as Israel exercised military control of the West Bank.
“I have no problem of using football as a bridge, I believe in that, but first of all treat me as a partner, as a neighbour, let us pave the road for that so great target. Let us have reciprocity in treating each other. But as occupier and occupied I do no think that we can meet.”
Following the announcement of the vote, which came after both the IFA and PFA addressed delegate, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said a decision regarding the clubs will now be made in October: “We will take responsibility and we will take a decision on this matter.”