Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – FIFA envoy Tokyo Sexwale on Tuesday called for movement on the “headache” issue of Israeli clubs in settlements in the occupied West Bank, after meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino last month told AFP the issue was a “priority” for him, and Sexwale, chairman of the FIFA Monitoring Committee on Israel-Palestine, addressed the subject in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
“The biggest headache is a question of the clubs which are playing in the settlements. That is where we need people to make a move,” Sexwale said after a meeting with Palestinian Football Association head Jibril Rajoub.
He said a report he was preparing would be “be very clear and loud” about the matter.
Sexwale met with Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev on Monday.
FIFA postponed a decision on the settlement clubs last month ahead of Sexwale’s report.
Rajoub said they were “looking forward to see(ing) a clear cut resolution” to enable Palestinian football to develop “freely like any other nation”.
The Israel Football Association has accused the Palestinians of dragging sport “from the football field into a political one”.
Six clubs in the Israeli football league play in West Bank Jewish settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.
The Palestinians have long opposed the participation in the Israeli championships of the settlement clubs, which play in Israel’s third, fourth and fifth divisions.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season