FIFA to help solve Palestinian sports dispute with Israel



REUTERS

Published — Thursday 30 May 2013

Last update 30 May 2013 4:06 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PORT LOUIS: FIFA President Sepp Blatter promised Palestinians yesterday that soccer’s world governing body would help put an end to the long-running problems with Israel that severely restrict sport in the territories.
Blatter, who went to the region two years ago to try to help improve the relationship between the Palestinians and Israel, was applauded by delegates at a conference of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Mauritius before FIFA’s Congress starting on Thursday.
Blatter told AFC delegates he was aware of what he called “this touchy problem,” adding: “I can confirm I will help, FIFA will help. It’s a problem of football. We will help you and this will be done. It’s not a promise it’s a will — and where there’s a will there’s way.”
The tensions between the neighbors have been exacerbated as the start of UEFA’s European Under-21 Championship, being staged in four Israeli cities next month, approaches.
Last week UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said after its Congress in London that European soccer’s governing body was within its rights to award the tournament to Israel and would not consider moving it.
But Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestine FA and Palestine Olympic Committee, said the situation had worsened since Blatter and International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge visited the region on separate occasions in 2011 and 2010.
At Rajoub’s request there will be an open debate on the situation at the FIFA Congress on Friday.
Palestinians are angry that Israel’s security forces, who control movement between Gaza and the West Bank, frequently prevent athletes from traveling freely between the two areas.
The situation is not restricted to Palestinians.
As a full member of FIFA and the AFC, the Palestine FA has started to hold more regional tournaments but the Israelis are stopping athletes from third countries entering the West Bank.
Recently two teenagers from Myanmar were stuck in Jordan for a week awaiting clearance so they could play in an Under-17 tournament before eventually been granted access to the Palestinian territories.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Rajoub told Reuters: “It’s crazy what the Israelis are doing. They should be asked either to respect and accept the statutes or pay the price.

I am talking about free access and free movement for both athletes and sports instructors and experts from abroad.
“We just want to enjoy sport like the rest of the associations.”
Asked whether IOC and FIFA intervention had helped, he said: “No. The situation is deteriorating. They have to recognize reality on the ground and Palestine is a member of both FIFA and the IOC and accepts all of the standards and statutes of FIFA.”
He also objected to Israel hosting next month’s Under-21 finals saying: “They should not be given this gift as long as they are not giving Palestinians the right to enjoy the same things as them.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: Many Saudi citizens travel outside the Kingdom during vacations looking for entertainment for themselves and their families as entertainment facilities in the Kingdom do not meet their aspirations. They have called for setting up entertainm...
TAIF: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inaugurated state-of-the-art Radf public park in Taif which has an interactive fountain — the biggest of its kind in the Kingdom and spread over 13,000 sq meters. The fountain has colored lighting and a displ...
JEDDAH: The Special Criminal Court has issued a preliminary order in a case related to a Saudi national who fought with militant organizations in Syria. The court, functioning at its summer headquarters in Jeddah, sentenced him to a seven-year jail t...
RI YADH: The Kingdom has decided to increase the financial aid to Palestine by raising its monthly aid to the Palestinian Authority’s budget from $14 million to $20 million. The substantial increase brings Saudi Arabia’s yearly aid for Palestine to $...
JEDDAH: The Saudi Ambassador to Jordan has rejected terror charges against Saudis incarcerated in Iraqi jails and slammed the government of that country for concealing information on the inmates."The file of Saudi prisoners in Iraq has grabbed the at...
JEDDAH: Six female members of the Shoura Council participated in a training program to raise awareness among citizens on the municipal elections in which women will participate. The program was organized by Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women un...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has issued an order appointing and promoting 96 members at the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) at various ranks.Sheikh Mohammed bin Fahd Al Abdullah, BIPP president, expresse...
DAMMAM: After the recent increase in verbal and physical harassment of women and girls in the Kingdom, they have turned to martial arts in order to protect themselves. Amani Yassin, a coach at Taekwondo Training Institute, said: “Saudi women are inte...
RIYADH: A youth has been arrested for allegedly killing a Saudi man near the Madinah airport recently. The police apprehended the alleged killer without incident. The suspect, a 24-year-old Saudi, is alleged to have stabbed the victim several times...
RIYADH: A total of 4,326 male and female students started their local and regional summer program for 2015 under the sponsorship of the King Abdul Aziz and his Companions Foundation for the Gifted and Creativity (Mawhiba) throughout the Kingdom on Su...
BURAIDAH: The security patrolling team in Qassim detained a woman for driving a car on the streets of Buraidah.Her case was referred to the higher-ups for necessary action.According to Maj. Badar Al-Sahibani, spokesman Qassim police, the woman is ide...
RIYADH: Recent statistics announced by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, which coincided with consensus surveys in the Kingdom for the year 2014, revealed that there is only one doctor for each 800 people, and one nurse for every 285 peopl...
Indian expats have paid glowing tributes to one of its most beloved presidents and iconic leaders on Tuesday, as condolences poured in from various parts of the Kingdom for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam following his sudden death on Monday.Hemant Kotalwar, char...
RIYADH: The National Center for Assessment in Higher Education (Qiyas) has announced the dates of tests for male and female students for the new academic year.Ibrahim Rasheed, director for public relations and communications, said the center has com...
RIYADH: The Ministries of Health and Education in cooperation with the Kingdom’s universities launched a program dubbed, “Education and Work,” in Riyadh on Tuesday to help Saudi youth find employment in the public and private sectors. A memorandum of...

Stay Connected

Facebook