Open Letter

Letter From 174 Palestinian Sports Clubs Calls on FIFA to Suspend the Israel Football Federation

May 4, 2017

Palestinian football clubs and sports associations urge FIFA to immediately suspend the Israeli Football Association’s (IFA) membership over its inclusion of seven football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements.

Letter to FIFA Council Members 
cc FIFA Member Associations 

Dear FIFA Council Member, 

We, the undersigned Palestinian football clubs and associations, write to urge you to uphold human rights and implement FIFA statutes without discrimination at the upcoming congress on May 11. We ask you to ensure that the Israel Football Association (IFA) exclude Israeli teams based in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from its leagues, and suspend the IFA from FIFA if it refuses to do so. Palestinian football rights, FIFA’s reputation as champion of human rights and our ability to play the beautiful game without fear of repression depend on your decision.

The FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine, which was established two years ago with the aim of improving Palestinian football, has failed to meet its goals. Israel’s persistent attacks on Palestinian football and violations of the rights of Palestinian footballers are still a daily occurrence. The harassment of Palestinian footballers, the deliberate obstruction of our right to movement in the occupied territory denying us the ability to attend training sessions and matches are well documented. In addition, Israel’s military has bombed Palestinian stadiums several times and prevents football spectators and fans from traveling to matches. The IFA continues to violate FIFA’s statutes by sponsoring teams based in illegally occupied Palestinian land.

FIFA’s persistent delays in making a decision on this matter gives the impression that FIFA isn’t serious about the protection of our human rights, or respect for its statutes. It shows that FIFA is putting politics ahead of human rights by giving Israel a free pass. 

FIFA has an unequivocal policy against racism, and took measures to kick racism out of football in the past. FIFA played a historic role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa when it expelled the South African Football Association from FIFA at its 1976 congress in response to the system of apartheid. 

At the upcoming Congress, FIFA once again has a historic opportunity to take human rights seriously by ensuring that the seven Israeli clubs based in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)* are immediately excluded from the IFA, and suspending the IFA’s membership in FIFA if it fails to exclude them. 

We are concerned about reports that FIFA will give the IFA a ‘warning’ period of six-months to exclude settlement teams, without specifying the course of action if it fails to do so. We question the necessity of the six-month extension and view it as a continuation of FIFA’s delays in making a decision on this clear violation of FIFA’s statutes. Two years of attempts by the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine to rectify this issue should be proof enough that the status quo should not be extended. 

Yours sincerely, 

  1. Nuemeh Youth Club

  2. Al Majd  Sport Club for Disabled Persons

  3. Fighting Zone Center

  4. Al Bireh Cultural Club

  5. Al Zubidat Club

  6. Betein Club

  7. Am’ari  Refugee Camp – Social Youth Center

  8. East Sawahreh Club

  9. Borj Al Laqlaq Society

  10. Employees Club

  11. Bido Club

  12. Hizma Islamic Club

  13. Beit Hanina Youth Center

  14. Al Thouri Youth Club

  15. Sur Baher Club

  16. Arab El-Jahaleen Club

  17. Islamic Youth Center – Dahyet Al Bareed

  18. Old City Society

  19. We All Palestine Youth Society

  20. Beit Sourik Club

  21. Sur Baher Islamic Club

  22. Beit Al Maqdes Equestrian Society

  23. Social Youth Center – Shofat Refugee Camp

  24. Al Quds Club

  25. Qattana Club

  26. Al Eizariya Youth Club

  27. Mount of Olives Club

  28. Al Ram Ahli Club

  29. Bir Nabala  Youth Club

  30. Silwan Club

  31. Al-Jeeb Club

  32. Jabal Al Mokaber Club

  33. Hilal Al Quds Club

  34. Beit Safafa Arab Club

  35. Qalandia Social Youth Club

  36. Jerusalem Clubs Collective

  37. Beituniya Club

  38. Al Ram Youth Club

  39. Turmusaya Club

  40. Bilin Club

  41. Al- Mazraa al Sharqiya Club

Jenin Clubs:

  1. Qabatiya Athletic Club

  2. Barta’a Athletic Club

  3. Jalboun Athletic Club

  4. Silat Al Daher Athletic Club

  5. Jenin Athletic Club

  6. Ya’abd Youth Athletic Club

  7. Jenin Youth Center

  8. Hilal Arrana Club

  9. Maithaloon Athletic Club

  10. Marg Bani Amer Club

  11. Deir Abu Ghusoun Club

  12. Silat  El-Harthiya

Qalqilya Clubs

  1. Azzon Athletic Club

  2. Jayyous Athletic Club

  3. Kufor Thulth Athletic Club

  4. Ahli Qalqilia Club

  5. Qalqilia Islamic Athletic Club

  6. Jensafoot Club

  7. Kfor Zeibad Athletic Club

  8. Amaneen Club

  9. Habla Athletic Club

  10. ElNabi Elias Athletic Club

  11. Hijjeh Athletic Club

Tubas Clubs:

  1. Tamoon Athletic Club

  2. Al Faraa Youth Club

Tulkarem Clubs:

  1. Kufor Leid Athletic Club

  2. Deir AlGhusoun Club

  3. Tulkarem Cultural and Athletic Club

  4. Thonabe Club

  5. Noor Shams Club

  6. Al-hweikah Athletic Club

  7. E’teil Athletic Club

  8. Rameen Athletic Club

  9. Feroon Athletic Club

  10. Beit Leid Athletic Club

  11. Irtah Athletic Club

  12. Iktaba Athletic Club

  13. Nazlit Issa Athletic Club

  14. Anabta Athletic Club


  1. Ibal Athletic Club

  2. Balata Youth Center

  3. SuraAthletic Club

  4. Qusra Athletic Club

  5. Number One Youth Club

  6. Beitta Athletic Club

  7. Nablus Youth Club

  8. Qaryout Athletic Club

  9. Huteen Athletic Club

  10. AL Ethad Athletic Club

  11. Jourish Athletic Club

  12. Askar Youth Center

  13. Tel Athletic Club

  14. O’reef Athletic Club

  15. Aqraba Athletic Club

  16. Quseen Athletic Club

  17. Borqa Athletic Club

  18. Jabal ElNar Athletic Club

  19. Al Qastal Athletic Club

  20. Osreen Athletic Club

  21. Beit Eba Athletic Club

  22. Sama Nablus Athletic Club

  23. Tora Athletic Club

  24. Majdal Bani Fadel Club

Salfeet Clubs:

  1. Kufor Al Deek Athletic Club

  2. Salfeet Athletic Club

  3. Bruqeen Athletic Club

  4. Bedia Athletic Club

  5. Abu Shkheidam Club

  6. Dayr 'Abu Mash'al Club

  7. Kharbatha Almisbah Club

  8. Al-Jiftlik Club

  9. Kufr Ein Club

  10. Saffa club

  11. Deir Jarir Youth club

  12. Jericho Youth club

  13. Aqabat Jaber Social Youth Centre-Aqabet Jaber Refugee Camp

  14. Al Shyoukh Youth Club

  15. Yatta Youth Club

  16. Al Samou’ Youth Club

  17. Beit A’awa Youth Club

  18. Al Istiklal-Yatta Youth Club

  19. Beit Oula  Youth Club

  20. Tafoh Youth Club

  21. Al A’rub Center

  22. Beit Kahel Youth Club

  23. Al Karmel Yatta Club

  24. Halhoul Club

  25. Al Sa’eer  Youth Club

  26. Raboud  Youth Club

  27. Al Burj  Youth Club

  28. Tarqumyah  Youth Club

  29. Nuba  Youth Club

  30. Haras  Youth Club

  31. Tareq Bin Ziyaad club

  32. Beit Al Tefel Al Falsteni

  33. Beit Umar Club

  34. Hebron Youth Club

  35. Hebron Al-Ahli Club

  36. Al Fowar Youth Centre

  37. Tareq Ben Ziyaad Club

  38. Palestinian Child’s Home Club

  39. Beit Ummar ClubSureif club

  40. Bani Na’eemm club

  41. El-Thahreyyeh Youth Club

  42. Equestrian Athletic Club

  43. Al Ramadeen Club

  44. Susya Club

  45. Ethna Coalition Club

  46. Joret Alshama’a Club

  47. Beit Sahour Womens Club

  48. Al Wadi Al-Akhdar Club

  49. Al-Walajeh Youth Club

  50. Hussan Youth Club

  51. Orthodox Club Bethlehem

  52. Mraah Ma’ala club

  53. Nahaleen Athletic Club

  54. Bethlehem Disabled Persons Sports Club

  55. Islamic Club of Bethlehem

  56. Al E’bdyeh Youth Club

  57. Beit Fujar Club

  58. Battir Club

  59. Al Khader Youth Club

  60. Arab Orthodox Club of Beit Jala

  61. Ebda’ Centre Athletic Club

  62. Dheisheh Youth Athletic Club

  63. Catholic Action Club-Bethlehem

  64. A’ida Youth Centre Club

  65. Al A’za Youth Centre Club

  66. Wadi Al-Neis Club

  67. Al-Doha Youth Club

  68. Salah Al Din Club

  69. Za’tara Youth Club

  70. Wadi Rahal Club


* The 7 Israeli football clubs based in illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory are: Maccabi Ariel (indoor futsal), Ironi Ariel, Beitar Givat Ze’ev Shabi, Beitar Ma’ale Adumim, Hapoel Oranit, Hapoel Bik’at Hayarden, Hapoel Katamon Yerushalaim (primarily located in West Jerusalem but plays some home games in Ma’ale Adumim). See this Human Rights Watch Report

May 4, 2017


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