By Gideon Allon, Ariel Kahana, and Yisrael Hayom Staff
The soccer’s world governing body rejected a demand on Wednesday presented by Palestinian Authority Football Association President Jibril Rajoub to impose sanctions on and suspend countries that “violate citizens’ rights.”
The bid, which clearly targeted Israel, was struck down by the 68th FIFA Congress by a majority vote of 82 percent to 18 percent.
The congress said similar regulations already exist in the FIFA charter, making the Palestinian Authority bid unnecessary.
The move backfired further when Rajoub, a virulent critic of Israel who has tried to convince FIFA to sanction or suspend Israel multiple times, was informed that FIFA has decided to launch disciplinary proceedings against him over his verbal incitement against Israel before the final World Cup warm-up match game with Argentina.
Rajoub called on fans to burn shirts carrying the number of team captain Lionel Messi if he played in Israel and compared modern Israel to Nazi Germany.
Argentina eventually canceled the match, citing threats against the players scheduled to arrive in Israel. The Israeli Football Association has requested that FIFA investigate the reasons behind the cancellation, saying it was the work of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
“This is a recurring ritual in which Rajoub attempts to lead FIFA decisions against our [teams] and against the State of Israel,” said IFA chief Ofer Eini. “Thanks to proper and thoughtful work, we succeeded in explaining to FIFA members what the motivating factors behind these apparently innocent suggestions are, and that the person suggesting them has crossed every possible line.
“We have a true friend in FIFA, which is why Rajoub fails time and again. Israeli soccer will continue to be part of the international community, and Israel will continue to enjoy support in the world football association.”
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said, “There is no room there [in FIFA] for terrorists, who use their positions as a political tool and try to delegitimize Israel. I hope that at the end of this disciplinary proceeding, FIFA will send Rajoub home.”