The executive council of the International Soccer Association (FIFA) has decided to delete a draft resolution to impose sanctions against six Israeli soccer teams hailing from towns in Judea and Samaria.
The resolution was advanced by the Palestinian Authority, which has been pressuring FIFA and its member nations since the day it became a member of FIFA — which took place soon after it was admitted as a non-state member to the United Nations General Assembly. UN membership entitled the entity to join hundreds of international treaties, agencies, organizations and conventions, and thus to urge sanctions and boycotts in a myriad of international forums of any player, team or product from post-1967 parts of Israel.
But a personal phone call placed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, asking the international soccer chief to remove the resolution from this week’s agenda, provided enough counterbalance to allow the world soccer organization to return it focus to sportsmanship, rather than the acrimony of Palestinian Authority politics.
“Sports and politics shouldn’t mix,” Netanyahu told Infantino.
South African anti-racism activist Tokyo Sexwale headed a committee meeting on the matter in Manama on Tuesday, attended by Israel Football Association chairman Ofer Eini, and his Palestinian Authority counterpart who’s been making all the noise, Jibril Rajoub, Ha’aretz reported Wednesday. When the committee was unable to reach an agreement at the end of the meeting, the issue was sent for further discussion to the FIFA council – which then decided to simply remove the issue from the agenda.
The FIFA council, which convened in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, determined ahead of the Congress set for this week that it is simply “too early” for the congress to make a decision on such an issue at this point.