RIYADH: Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, has apologized after his country was criticized on social media for failing to vote for Saudi Arabia in its bid to host the AFC Asian Cup in 2027.
The Kingdom will be hosting the competition for the first time in its history in an outcome confirmed on Wednesday during the 33rd Asian Football Confederation Congress held in Manama, Bahrain.
Rajoub admitted the decision not to vote for Saudi Arabia’s bid was a “mistake.”
According to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: “It is clear that a technical issue occurred from our representative’s side during the voting process.
“I, personally, left after electing the representatives of West Asia at the executive office, for urgent health reasons.
“Palestine was and still is biased towards any Arab candidate in the matter of hosting [the Asian Cup], let alone if it was Saudi Arabia.”
Rajoub added that he believed it must have been the Palestinian representative’s first time participating in the conference.
Saudi TV channel Al Ekhbariya later announced that the Iranian Football Association had voted for Saudi Arabia while the Palestinian organization had not, sparking reactions on social media.
Twitter user Mohammed Alzahrani posted: “Let him apologize. Saudi Arabia won with 43 votes. We don’t need their vote. It won’t make any difference.”
Abdullah Alsaeed, another Twitter user, said: “Almost everything they do is wrong — historically. Their alliances are wrong, their media is misdirected, their policies towards the Palestinian cause are wrong.”
The user added that the problem was with Palestinian leaders and not its people.
Others on social media demanded the dismissal of the head of the Palestinian delegation at the vote.