Middle Eastern football associations call on FIFA to ban 'Israel'
Led by Jordan's Football Association, Middle Eastern associations called on FIFA to ban "Israel" as it did Russia, but faced rejection from the Israeli Football Association and the head of the UEFA.
A 12-nation group of football associations in the Middle East has called on FIFA and the UEFA to ban "Israel", Sky News reported, referring to the letter sent to the federation.
The group includes the football associations of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, and is led by Jordan's Football Association, whose head is King Abdullah II's half-brother, Prince Ali.
The letter, written by Prince Ali, called on FIFA to isolate the Israeli football association from all related activities due to the brutal genocide in Gaza, and the continuous war crimes "Israel" keeps committing in the strip, targeting Palestinian civilians, including football enthusiasts, players, and coaches.
The Israeli FA, however, called for the rejection of the ban on the basis of detaching football and sports from politics. Niv Goldstein, "Israel's" Federal Association CEO, said, "We are concentrating only on football matters and our dream is to qualify for the European Championship in 2024 and I'm looking forward to world peace."
This raised questions concerning the UEFA's exclusion of Russia in international tournaments and participation when the war against Ukraine was launched.
No statements from UEFA, FIFA
Neither the European nor the world football's governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA, issued a statement condemning or sanctioning "Israel" as they had for Russia, nor did they suspend Israeli clubs and national teams from their competitions despite "Israel's" ongoing genocide on Gaza, while Russian clubs and national teams were banned from international competitions, and remained barred from partaking in the FIFA World Cup or UEFA EURO competitions.
Responding to both parties, UEFA general secretary, Theodore Theodoridis, revealed that the organization had no intentions to ban "Israel" from participating, but mentioned that the executive board would be making a decision. However, responding to the Russia-Israeli comparison, Theodoridis and Goldstein both said that the war in Ukraine differs from that on Gaza, in an attempt to justify the ban on Russia but not "Israel".
"The humanitarian crisis demands an unequivocal and resolute response from the global football community," Prince Ali wrote, adding, "As members bound by the statutes of FIFA, we stand united in our pledge to uphold all internationally recognized human rights."
Ban is only fair
The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) confirmed that Israeli occupation forces killed 85 Palestinian athletes, including 55 football players and 30 individuals engaged in various other sports disciplines, in the period spanning from October 7 to December 6.
In a comprehensive report, the PFA mentioned that during their ongoing aggression, Israeli occupation forces targeted Palestinian sports facilities and athletes, including football players, as well as club presidents, administrators, referees, and other sports figures.
The report revealed that among the football players killed at the hands of Israeli occupation forces, 18 were children and 37 were youths, including two in the occupied West Bank. Additionally, four players sustained injuries in the Gaza Strip.
According to the PFA's report, Israeli airstrikes destroyed nine sports facilities, with four located in the occupied West Bank and five in Gaza.