No decision by FIFA on settlement football problem

No decision by FIFA on settlement football problem

Football's government body couldn't decide whether Israeli teams should be prevented from playing in settlements

Israel playing in Euro 2016 qualifiers
Israel playing in Euro 2016 qualifiers

The governing body of international football, FIFA, did not reach a decision on preventing Israeli teams from playing in West Bank settlements.

The organisation was expected to discuss the issue at its executive committee meeting, which ended on Friday, but did not make any decisions, Haaretz reported. It was to have considered a special committees recommendations and come up with a solution to be presented at the FIFA world congress, scheduled for May 2017.

Six Israeli teams play their home matches in West Bank settlements.

The international NGO Human Rights Watch late last month called on FIFA to quit sponsoring matches held by the Israel Football Association on West Bank pitches.

Human Rights Watch said it had conducted an investigation of the Israel Football Association, a FIFA member, and found that the group holds games in West Bank settlements “on land unlawfully taken from Palestinians.”

The Palestinian Football Association has accused its Israeli counterpart of violating FIFA rules by holding games without permission on the territory of another member group.  Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, has threatened to take the issue to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a ruling on the issue if FIFA does not deal with it.

New FIFA President Gianni Infantino earlier this month told the French news agency AFP that he would make finding a resolution to the conflict over West Bank Israeli soccer teams “a priority.”

The West Bank football teams are in Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, Givat Ze’ev, the Jordan Valley and Oranit.

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