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June 12, 2019 9:59 am

FIFA Opens Investigation Against Head of Palestinian Football Association

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Palestinian Football Association head Jibril Rajoub speaks during a press conference regarding the cancellation of the soccer match between Argentina and Israel, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, June 6, 2018. Photo: Flash90. – The international football association—FIFA—has opened an investigation against Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, in response to a detailed complaint submitted by Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch.

In the complaint, originally filed in May 2017, PMW provided FIFA with evidence that Rajoub had breached FIFA’s bylaws by promoting and glorifying terrorism, inciting hatred and violence, promoting racism and preventing the use of the game of football to build a bridge for peace.

In a letter to Rajoub leaked earlier this month by a pro-Palestinian media site and dated January 2019, FIFA Ethics Committee Chief of Investigation Martin Nagoga asked Rajoub to respond to PMW’s complaint point by point, saying:

“The Chairperson of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee has opened these investigation proceedings after having determined that, on the basis of a document and relevant evidence submitted by the organization Palestinian Media Watch [titled] ‘Kick Terror Out of Football’ … there is prima facie evidence that you may have committed violations of the FCE [FIFA Code of Ethics] in your position as President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA).”

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The letter reminds Rajoub of his duty to “assist and cooperate truthfully, fully and in good faith with the Ethics Committee” and requires that he respond by Jan. 18, 2019.

If Rajoub is found guilty, he could face both heavy fines and a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for up to five years.

Commenting on the latest developments, PMW Director Itamar Marcus, who authored the “Kick Terror out of Football” report, said: “I welcome FIFA’s decision to open an investigation into Jibril Rajoub’s conduct as head of the Palestinian Football Association. It is demeaning for FIFA to allow a terror supporter who uses vile racist language to have any position attached to FIFA’s good name.

“Instead of using the beautiful game to build bridges and promote peace and coexistence, Rajoub uses his position to incite violence and to promote and glorify terror. I am hopeful that FIFA will now, once and for all, permanently remove Rajoub from any position in FIFA, and cleanse this stain on international football.”

Rajoub has not made a public response to FIFA’s Investigatory Chamber.

Rajoub was sanctioned by FIFA Disciplinary Committee in August 2018 and sentenced to a 12-month match suspension and $20,000 fine for breaching article 53 (inciting hatred and violence) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

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