*UPDATE: FIFA RESPONSE - Wiesenthal Centre to FIFA President: "Reject Palestinian Attempts to Eliminate Israeli Clubs and to Expel the Israel Football Association from FIFA"


FIFA Responds to SWC's Demand that Palestinian Attempts to Eliminate Israeli Football Clubs and Expel Israel Football Association from FIFA Be Rejected

3 August 2016

Dear Dr. Samuels,

Thank you for your email to FIFA President Infantino and interest in our activities.

FIFA expects its Confederations and Member Associations to comply with the principles of neutrality in matters of politics and religion and to avoid any form of political interference. Please rest assured that FIFA upholds these values and on the basis of the FIFA Statutes we will continue to promote friendly relations between our members associations (cf. art. 5 of the FIFA Statutes) and will continue to take a clear stance against discrimination of any kind (cf. art. 4 of the FIFA Statutes).

As you correctly point out, a Monitoring Committee for Israel-Palestine was established by the 65th FIFA Congress in May 2015 to identify solutions that will enable the development of football in the region. The mandate was recently extended at the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico. The committee includes representatives of both the Israel and Palestinian football associations.

At the beginning of July a FIFA delegation led by Tokyo Sexwale has visited Israel and Palestine as part of the ongoing efforts of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine to identify solutions to issues hindering the development of football in the region. The discussions focused on the measures currently being developed to better deal with permit applications and to avoid security-related delays with regard to the free movement of Palestinian people and equipment connected with football, an area where marked progress has been achieved.

The pending issue of territory and the question of the five clubs that are affiliated to the Israel Football Association that you mention in your email were also addressed and will continue to be discussed with all parties.

FIFA will continue its efforts in order to identify feasible solutions for the benefit of the game and everyone involved.

Yours sincerely,

Lucas Rachow

FIFA Public Affairs Department
Communications & Public Affairs Division





Tel.: +33(0)1 47 23 76 37
Fax: +33(0)1 47 20 84 01

"Had they proposed that the Israeli teams in question play matches with their Palestinian neighbours, such football pitch encounters may have helped reignite mutual hope in a floundering peace process."

"This Palestinian mischief has hijacked several international organisations. FIFA's mission is to promote global soccer, however, as a meeting-point for peace."

Paris, 1 August 2016

In a letter to FIFA (International Federation of Football Associations) President, Gianni Infantino, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted, "We were present in Zürich – at the July 2015, 65th FIFA Congress – to protest the then Palestinian attempt to expel the Israel Football Association (IFA)" adding, "As a result, FIFA created a monitoring committee, including representatives of both the IFA and PFA (Palestinian Football Association) to overcome the latter's constant attempts to politicize world soccer".

The letter continued, "Yet the same Palestinian agitator, Jibril Rajoub - who, reportedly, praises terrorists who murder Jews as 'martyrs' - is again this year attempting to manipulate the FIFA agenda", stressing, "This time, he demands the elimination of six Israeli football clubs over the 1948 cease-fire lines between Israel and Jordan, now better known as the 1967 green line."

Samuels charged, "Such a demand sets a dangerous precedent. For example, Spain could demand that the UK eliminate the Gibraltar club, or for Turkey to close all clubs in Northern Cyprus, or Pakistani and Indian similar claims against each other in Kashmir, introducing conflicts worldwide and thereby destroying FIFA while further sullying 'the beautiful game'."

The Centre urged, "Had Rajoub proposed that the Israeli teams in question play matches with their Palestinian neighbours, such football pitch encounters may have helped reignite mutual hope in a floundering peace process.

"Mr. President, we urge you to reject this Palestinian mischief that has hijacked several international organisations. FIFA's mission is, however, to promote global soccer as a meeting-point for peace.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels +336 09770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament