Football in the Service of Terrorism – Palestinian Football Association (PFA) Glorifies Murder

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE-EUROPE
Tel.: +33(0)1 47 23 76 37
Fax: +33(0)1 47 20 84 01
Email: csweurope@gmail.com

“Palestinian demand for Israeli Expulsion from FIFA on forthcoming Executive Board agenda.”

“Wiesenthal Centre urges Palestinian expulsion for violation of FIFA Statutes in naming 21 football clubs, tournaments and stadiums in honour of terrorists...”
“FIFA must not be associated with this constant abuse of football in the service of terrorism.”

Paris, 10 October 2016

In a letter to FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) President, Gianni Infantino, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “PFA President Jibril Rajoub demands the expulsion of the Israel Football Association (IFA), if it does not disqualify six Israeli teams over the 1948 cease-fire lines between Israel and Jordan, commonly known as the 1967 green line.”

Samuels thanked Infantino for his response to our continuing concern at agitator Rajoub’s politicization of FIFA. The organizaion's 3 August letter “reassured the Centre that: “FIFA expects its Confederations and Member Associations to comply with the principle of neutrality in matters of politics and religion and to avoid any form of political interference. Please rest assured that FIFA upholds these and on the basis of the FIFA Statutes, we will continue to promote friendly relations between our member associations (cf. article 5 of the FIFA Statutes) and will continue to take a clear stance against discrimination of any kind (cf. article 4 of the FIFA Statutes).”

Nevertheless, the Centre expressed disappointment at Infantino’s current announcement that the Palestinan demand was “one of the priorities, to be discussed at the FIFA Executive Board on 13 or 14 October.”

The letter urged FIFA “to follow the argument of Northwestern University Law Professor, Eugene Kontorovich in the Washington Post of 26 September, entitled: ‘The Palestinian 'unsporting and illegal’ football war against Israel’: ‘Nothing in the FIFA Statues that equates ‘territory’ with sovereign territory… Instead, territory means jurisdiction.’ … ‘FIFA clearly separates any question of sovereign statehood and territory from FIFA membership by not requiring that member federations be recognized states’.”

Samuels suggested that “on these grounds alone, I suggest that, if the six Israeli teams were to be dropped, then pari passim, all Palestinian teams or clubs – which, ipso facto, are identified with a non-sovereign territory - would need to be dropped and the PFA suspended from FIFA.” The letter added that “the repercussions would be a far-reaching precedent for members in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Gibraltar, American Samoa, Northern Ireland, Moroccan Western Sahara, Northern Cyprus, Kashmir and other disputed territories, thereby destroying FIFA and sullying ‘the beautiful game’.”

Samuels claimed that “Palestinian FIFA membership should, however, be challenged on other more serious grounds that certainly violate Articles 4 and 5 of the FIFA Statutes, i.e. ‘promote friendly relations between member associations’ and ‘a clear stance against discrimination of any kind’.”

He continued, “the 21 Palestinian football clubs, teams, tournaments and stadiums (listed here courtesy of PMW-Palestinian Media Watch), are named to glorify one or more notorious terrorist. Number 14 cites, inter alia, ‘the perverse endorsement by, now PFA President, Jibril Rajoub, of 23 so-called 'martyrs’, including Saleh Khalaf (aka Abu Iyad). The latter was reportedly responsible for the murder of two American diplomats and the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre of 11 Israeli athletes. Several are members of Hamas, designated as a banned terrorist organization by the European Union, United States and other UN member states.”

The Centre stressed that “FIFA must not be associated with this constant abuse of football in the service of terrorism.”

“This nexus can only be cut if FIFA warns the PFA to remove all icons of terror from its clubs, teams, tournaments and stadiums, or otherwise be suspended from FIFA”, concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels + 33 609 770158.

Photo: Palestinian Football Clubs, Teams, Tournaments and Stadiums that Glorify Terror