Fifa's Sepp Blatter urges Israel's Avi Luzon to act on hunger striker

By Jennifer Lipman, June 12, 2012
Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

The president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, has appealed to the Israel Football Association over the case of a Gaza prisoner who went on a hunger strike for nearly three months.

Mahmoud Sarsak, who is believed to have called off his strike yesterday evening, is a footballer recruited by the Palestinian national team. According to the Israeli authorities he has a history of involvement in terrorist activity for Islamic jihad, including planning attacks, recruitment and training, hence the reason for his detention since 2009.

A prisoners' rights group said that the 25-year-old accepted milk last night after 80 days rejecting nourishment. The Israeli authorities have agreed to review his case.

It came as Mr Blatter issued a plea to Avi Luzon, who is at the helm of the IFA, declaring his "grave concern and worry about the alleged illegal detention" of Sarsak and others.

"Due to the graveness of the situation, FIFA urgently calls on IFA to draw the attention of the Israeli competent authorities to the present matter," said a statement issued under Mr Blatter's name.

According to the statement, Mr Blatter was informed of the case by the Palestine Football Association and the FIFPro international footballing union.

Last updated: 3:24pm, June 12 2012