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‘Ball in Israeli court,’ says Palestinian FA chief


Zurich (AFP) – Palestinian football chief Jibril Rajoub insisted on Thursday the ball is now in Israel’s court after a meeting at FIFA headquarters to discuss Israeli clubs playing in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians argue that the presence of six Israeli football clubs playing on land containing settlements seen as illegal under international law is in breach of FIFA statutes.

On Wednesday a special committee under the presidency of South African official Tokyo Sexwale met at FIFA headquarters along with Rajoub and Israeli counterpart Ofer Eini.

Sexwale presented a “draft final report containing specific recommendations”, FIFA said, adding that the parties will “come back” to him before he submits his final report to the FIFA Congress in May in Bahrain.

“I don’t think that there will be any kind of agreement (in Bahrain),” Rajoub told AFP.

“The question (is) whether the Israelis are going to abide and respect (international law and FIFA’s statutes) or they want to continue bullying like the bully of the neighbourhood — it is up to them, the ball is in their court.

“I think that now everybody is on the right track. There is a clear dimension of the violation — either the human rights or the UN resolution, or the FIFA statutes.

“I am looking forward and I hope that the Israelis will understand it’s the time for them to correct their violations and abide with the international law.”

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