News Release

Could FIFA Suspend Israel?

JONATHAN KUTTAB, jonathankuttab at gmail.com
MARIABRUNA JENNINGS, mariabruna at gwmail.gwu.edu
Now in the Washington, D.C. area, Kuttab is founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and also a co-founder of Nonviolence International, which just put out a 45-page report “Report: Israel Hinders Football in Occupied Palestine” with the Palestine Football Association. Kuttab edited the report.

As FIFA representatives have converged on Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the 64th FIFA Congress, the Palestine Football Association has threatened to sponsor a resolution calling for the suspension of the Israeli Football Association. The groups issuing the report state: “High on the agenda will be complaints from the Palestinian Football Association detailing continued difficulties caused by the Israelis and the failure of FIFA President Sepp Blatter to address these hardships.”

The report documents “numerous Israeli practices which sabotage the sport in the Palestinian occupied territories.” Kuttab states: “FIFA has not fulfilled its mandate. This is the first comprehensive report which has documented scores of examples of obstacles enacted by the Israelis in the area of movement of Palestinian players and in many other areas outside FIFA’s current efforts.”

Jennings is author of the report and is a student at George Washington University in international affairs and history. She said today: “What surprised me as a young researcher is the ubiquitous nature of the occupation that has seeped through every pore of Palestinian society to the extent that soccer was a ‘security-threat.’ The overwhelming malfeasance of the Israeli authorities towards Palestinian soccer are both ridiculous and heart-wrenching.” She can also do interviews in Spanish and Italian.

The report “outlines five major areas of Palestinian victimization:

1) Obstruction of movements of Palestinian players, coaches and officials,

2) hindering delivery of football equipment,

3) construction restrictions of sports facilities,

4) Israeli dissuasion of visiting teams,

5) and violence against Palestinian players.”

Also see: “‘Will FIFA free our sons?’: International football associations discuss the Israeli occupation ahead of the World Cup.