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October 27, 2017 10:17 am

FIFA Refuses to Sanction Israel, Despite Palestinian Pressure

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FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The international soccer association FIFA said on Friday that it will not pursue Palestinian claims for punitive measures against Israel for the participation of Israeli soccer clubs from Judea and Samaria.

“The FIFA Council has decided to refrain from imposing any sanctions or other measures on either the Israel FA or the Palestinian FA, as well as from requesting any other FIFA body to do so,” the FIFA Executive Council wrote in a statement.

The executive council added that the current situation in the disputed territories is “characterized by exceptional complexity and sensitivity” that “can neither be ignored nor changed unilaterally by non-governmental organizations such as FIFA.”

Therefore, the council determined that FIFA “must remain neutral with regard to political matters.”

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Earlier this year, 174 Palestinian athletic clubs wrote an open letter to FIFA in which they called on world soccer’s governing body to “immediately suspend the Israel Football Association’s (IFA) membership over its inclusion of seven football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements.”

Israel’s standing was set to be decided May 11 at the FIFA Congress in Bahrain, but FIFA’s executive council delayed the vote.

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