Sepp Blatter will meet with Israeli representatives before a vote on a possible ban goes to Fifa Congress on May 29
Fifa is set to rule on Palestine’s request to suspend Israel from football activities after continued claims of restrictions on players’ movements.
The Palestinian FA claims that Israel has prevented its players from moving between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while also blocking the import of sports equipment into Palestinian territories. There is a further claim that foreign teams have also been blocked – a clear breach of Fifa’s laws.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has previously set up a task force to look into relations between the two nations and vowed to bring an end to footballing hostilities, will now meet Israel FA chairman Ofer Eini and CEO Rotem Kemer ahead of Fifa Congress on May 29, when the Palestinian plea will be voted on by the 209 Fifa member nations.
Despite Blatter’s previous claims, PFA president Jibril Rajoub has told Reuters that Israel is still “persecuting Palestinian footballers, athletes and the movement of sporting equipment.”
This is the second time the resolution has been raised with Fifa, and while Rajoub agreed to back-track at the Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo in 2014, no repeat is on the cards.
A letter has been sent by the IFA to all 209 Fifa nations requesting they don’t get involved in the politics and claiming that Israel has worked with Fifa to allay its fears regarding Palestinian access.
“The meeting with Sepp Blatter is very significant in our fight to cancel the possibility of a vote being held at the Fifa Congress in order to suspend Israel,” Eini told Reuters.
“We will not allow for Israel to be presented as a country which violated the agreements which it signed and we will do all in our power to prevent any kind of ban. I certainly expect the Fifa president to speak out loud and clear on this matter and to prevent this malicious move.”
The case is set to be heard at the Congress in Switzerland, at which Blatter’s bid for re-election as Fifa president will also be voted upon.