Football: Explosive proposal puts Gaza conflict on FIFA agenda

Football: Explosive proposal puts Gaza conflict on FIFA agenda

The Palestinian association calls for sanctions against Israel at the FIFA Congress. The German position in the ongoing conflict is clear.

A twelve-page proposal is causing political controversy at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok – and putting the world association under pressure.

The Palestinian association PFA is calling for sanctions against Israel in view of the Gaza war. Behind the scenes, a diplomatic solution to the ongoing conflict in football is being sought before the meeting of the 211 member associations of the world association FIFA on Friday in Bangkok.

These are the accusations

The PFA accuses the State of Israel of violating international law, particularly in Gaza, and the Israeli association of complicity, citing FIFA statutes on human rights. All football infrastructure in the Gaza Strip was destroyed or severely damaged, football players and referees were killed, writes the Palestinian association. The allegation cannot be independently verified, but Israeli attacks have caused severe destruction in the Gaza Strip over the past seven months.

According to its own information, the association is supported in its cause by Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen. The request for sanctions is likely to have the aim of excluding the association and the teams from Israel.

This is what the Israeli side replies

On The association can take action against a suspension by FIFA in any way it sees fit.

According to a report on the Israeli website One, the Israeli association has planned talks in Bangkok to prevent a vote on the Palestinian proposal.

This is what happens at the FIFA Congress

The agenda generally includes a “discussion” about proposals from member associations; a vote is not yet planned. Upon request, FIFA stated that the Palestinian association had the right to present its position. According to information from the German Press Agency, the possibility of shifting the issue to the FIFA Council is being examined. The German representative in this decision-making body is DFB President Bernd Neuendorf.

That is the German position

Upon request, the DFB refers to a statement shortly after the Hamas massacre in October of last year. “In this difficult situation, football in Germany stands firmly on the side of our friends and partners in Israel” – this sentence from Neuendorf is still valid today.

The Jewish sports association Makkabi Germany spoke out clearly against the PFA application. This is “part of an attempt to isolate Israel that can be observed globally and, in our view, should be firmly rejected,” said Makkabi President Alon Meyer to the German Press Agency. “We hope for a repeated clear signal from the FIFA Congress against such efforts.”

Meyer is also relying on the international support of the DFB. This will “strongly condemn and block attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel through sport,” said the Maccabi boss. The other members of the European Football Union are also considered supporters of Israel, which itself belongs to UEFA and not to the Asian confederation.

That’s how long the football conflict has been going on

The FIFA Congress dealt with the conflict from 2013 to 2017 – without reaching a sustainable solution. The Palestinian association leader Radhub repeatedly called for consequences for Israel because of the clubs based in the West Bank. In 2018, the world association issued a twelve-month ban against Radschub because he had called for jerseys and posters of and with Lionel Messi to be burned if the superstar played with Argentina in Jerusalem. The game was canceled.

This is how it continues

Even if the Palestinian request in Bangkok has no consequences, the conflict is likely to continue to concern international football. There is a high probability that some associations would refuse to play against Israel, the PFA wrote. Israel’s men’s national team has qualified internationally for the Olympics in Paris.

That is the political background

The Gaza war was triggered by the massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups in Israel on October 7th. They killed 1,200 people, took 250 more hostage and kidnapped them to the Gaza Strip. In the ensuing war, more than 35,000 Palestinians were killed, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority, although the figure, which is difficult to independently verify, does not distinguish between civilians and fighters. The high number of civilian casualties and the humanitarian catastrophe for the Palestinian civilian population have triggered sharp international criticism of Israel’s actions.

Source: Stern

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