Update

FIFA Continues to Ignore Israel’s Very Real Violence

The world governing body of football ignores Israel's attacks on Palestinian athletes while it sanctions the President of the Palestinian Football Association.

FIFA ignores Israel's attacks on Palestinian athletes while it sanctions the President of the Palestinian Football Association.

Stephanie Adam of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel commented:

FIFA is again showing its true face as a corrupt and complicit organization,betraying its self-professed commitment to human rights.

After years of moving the goalposts, in October 2017, the FIFA Council, at its meeting in Kolkata, India, adopted a position allowing football clubs in illegal Israeli settlements to continue to be a welcome part of the world football organization, stating it would “refrain from imposing any sanctions or other measures.”

FIFA has for decades ignored Israel’s violent attacks on Palestinian athletes and sports facilities and its prevalent anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia. FIFA is therefore complicit in whitewashing Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights.

The Argentina national team cancelled its friendly with Israel earlier this year after realizing how such a match would sports-wash Israeli apartheid and military occupation and hurt the nonviolent Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Similarly, many artists, including Lorde and Shakira, have cancelled performances in Tel Aviv.

Just as in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, the Palestinian-led global BDS movement for Palestinian rights will continue to isolate Israel’s regime of oppression until Palestinian rights are respected. And just as in South Africa, Israeli apartheid will be defeated too.

Background:

  • Legal scholar and UN expert Prof. Andreas Zimmermann of Potsdam University issued an opinion: “Legal status of Israeli football clubs located in the occupied Palestinian territory and ensuing legal consequences for FIFA”, concluding that “Israeli settlement clubs playing on occupied Palestinian territory without PFA’s consent violate Art. 72, para. 2 FIFA Statutes” and that “FIFA’s tolerance of settlement clubs implicitly recognizes Israeli settlements, and thus violates FIFA’s duty to respect the Palestinians’ right to self-determination under Art. 3 FIFA Statutes.”

  • On May 4, 2017, a letter from 174 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations urged FIFA to immediately suspend the Israeli Football Association’s membership over its inclusion of seven football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements.

  • On April 19, 2017, more than one hundred sports associations, trade unions, human rights organizations and faith based groups, representing millions of people from 28 countries across the globe, joined football champions, scholars, film directors, politicians and government officials in calling on FIFA’s Council members to insist that Israel’s national football league revoke the affiliation of seven clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, or face suspension from FIFA.

  • In the last several months,  UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace,in addition to 66 members of European Parliament, 30 members of Swiss
    Parliament, more than 40 members of Danish Parliament, 38 members of the British House of Commons as well as Human Rights Watch have all urged FIFA to resolve the issue of settlement clubs.

  • In October 2016, UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke wrote to FIFA to urge a resolution of the matter of the settlement clubs, “in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and FIFA Statutes within a reasonable time frame.”

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law.


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