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Dhaka Tribune

AFC backs Palestine bid to suspend Israel, abolishes term limits

AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa voiced his support for the Palestine Football Association's motion ahead of Friday's FIFA congress, which seeks to adopt immediate and appropriate sanctions against Israeli teams

Update : 18 May 2024, 07:18 AM

The Asian Football Confederation gave its backing to Palestine's proposal to suspend Israel from FIFA due to the ongoing war in Gaza at its congress in Bangkok Thursday, as the regional body also abolished term limits for its senior office bearers.

AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa voiced his support for the Palestine Football Association's motion ahead of Friday's FIFA congress, which seeks to "adopt immediate and appropriate sanctions against Israeli teams".

"The AFC is only as strong as its members and when one suffers, all its other members are affected," Sheikh Salman told delegates.

"The AFC stands together with the Palestine FA, and we join them in seeking effective football-related solutions to the grievances raised by the Palestine FA in their proposal.

"It is our duty to support the Palestine FA for a swift and effective resolution in line with the rules, regulations and statutes of the AFC and FIFA."

The proposal was sent by the Palestinians to FIFA on March 11 and will be discussed during the body's annual gathering after being added to the agenda with the support of the Algerian, Jordanian, Syrian and Yemeni federations.

AFC delegates stood for a minute's silence in remembrance of the victims of the Israel-Gaza war and were shown a video produced by the Palestine FA highlighting the destruction caused by Israeli forces.

Gaza has been devastated by almost constant bombardment and a subsequent invasion since an incursion into Israeli territory by Hamas on October 7 left almost 1,200 dead and hundreds taken hostage.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino touched on the matter in remarks to delegates as he called for a united front in efforts to deal with issues both within and outside the sport.

"We are all suffering with what is going on in Palestine. We pray for the mothers who lose their children and we pray for the mothers who lose their children everywhere in the world," he said.

"Football can do only very little because to change situations everywhere in the world which are tragic, all we can do is to show unity because football is what unites everyone."

The move came as delegates approved a motion to remove term limits for the president and members of the body's executive committee.

Only Australia and Jordan voted against the motion to eradicate the restrictions, which had seen office bearers limited to three terms of four years in their positions.

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