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Dhaka Tribune

Palestine Football Association urges FIFA sanctions against Israel

The Palestine Football Association's statement, released Tuesday, said the loss of innocent lives, including no less than 99 footballers and the destruction of residential units are clear violations of international laws while all the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed, or seriously damaged

Update : 21 Mar 2024, 12:59 AM

The Palestine Football Association has called on football's international governing body, FIFA, to sanction Israeli teams over the war in Gaza.

The PFA asked for its proposal, which it said six other member nations had endorsed, to be on the agenda at FIFA's upcoming congress in May.

Israel's football association Wednesday responded to the petition by saying it had "always followed FIFA regulations and always will."

The PFA's statement, released Tuesday, said "the loss of innocent lives, including no less than 99 footballers" and the "destruction of residential units...are clear violations of international laws."

"All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed, or seriously damaged," the statement added. 

The PFA pointed to several specific events, including a case in which Israeli media footage showed scores of stripped Palestinians, including children, detained in Gaza City's Yarmouk stadium in December 2023.

FIFA has taken action against member nations over the actions of their governments before, banning Russian teams from international competition following its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. 

Europe's governing body UEFA, of which Israel is a member, banned Russian clubs from its tournaments.

The PFA also called on FIFA to address "the inclusion of football teams located in the territory of another association, namely Palestine, in its national association". 

At least five football clubs based in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are members of the Israeli Football Association.

The settlements are illegal under international law.

"Such inclusion implicitly recognizes the Israeli claim to sovereignty over the settlements, which goes against international and FIFA's obligations," the PFA said.

FIFA did not respond to Agence France Presse requests for comment.

The PFA accused FIFA of inaction against discrimination and racism in its jurisdiction, pointing to Beitar Jerusalem Football Club in particular.  

Ex-defence minister Benny Gantz once called for La Familia, a fan club for Beitar, to be placed on a terror list over anti-Arab violence.

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