Israel Asks UEFA Head to Speak Out Against PA’s Proposed Ban

The Israel Football Association (IFA) on Friday appealed to UEFA president Michel Platini on Friday to speak out "loud and clear" against the Palestinian Authority’s bid to vote the IFA out of FIFA next week.

The annual FIFA Congress, which begins on May 28, includes the Palestinian Football Association's (PFA) proposal to suspend the IFA from world football.

IFA president Ofer Eini told Platini in a letter that FIFA had twice refused his request to have the Palestinian bid removed from the Congress agenda, mentioning FIFA's own attempts to have the item struck, according to the AFP news agency.

"IFA is facing one of its most crucial situations since it was established in the year 1928, finding ourselves in the need to defend ourselves against a proposal which is totally political and has nothing to do with the objectives of FIFA and the spirit of football", Eini wrote.

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter visited the region this week in an attempt to convince the Palestinians to remove their proposal, but PFA chief Jibril Rajoub later stressed that the organization will not drop its bid to have Israel suspended.

"We will keep the proposal on the agenda (of the upcoming FIFA Congress) for sincere and open discussions by the 208 FIFA member associations," he said.

"There will be no compromising on free movement of our athletes and officials," stressed Rajoub.

Rajoub has been leading a drive to have Israel suspended from FIFA, claiming Israel discriminates against Palestinian Arab players and restricts their movement.

Blatter has recently spoken out against suspending the Israeli FA but the PFA was able to get the request placed on the agenda for the FIFA Congress to take place on May 29.

The IFA has stressed it has no say over security issues which can cause difficulties in players' travel, calling the Palestinian bid an unsportsmanlike attempt to mix politics with sports.

Israel told Blatter it would set up mechanisms to ease the movement of players and set up a working group to monitor the situation.

"The time has come now for UEFA to raise its voice loud and clear against this proposal," said Eini, whose IFA is part of UEFA.

"UEFA should lead the world of football against this dangerous and totally unacceptable initiative of the PFA," he added.

Eini called on UEFA's executive committee to publish "a formal decision rejecting" the PFA proposal, requesting all UEFA members to take "legal or administrative steps" to strike down the proposal from the agenda, or unanimously object it, if it reaches the vote.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195754

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