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Israeli diplomats trying to stop Fifa ban

    Israeli diplomats are trying to prevent a vote next week at Fifa on a Palestinian request to force Israel not to allow football teams from the West Bank to play in its official leagues.

    Jibril Rajoub, the president of the Palestinian Football Association, has been pushing for a vote to take place on September 13 at the council meeting of Fifa, the governing body of world football. It would remove six teams representing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, all in the lower leagues of Israeli football, from playing in official matches.

    At the Fifa Congress in May 2015, Mr Rajoub failed to pass a motion calling for Israel's suspension from international football, claiming it hindered Palestinian footballers from playing. The then Fifa president Sepp Blatter managed to remove it from the agenda at the last moment. Now Mr Rajoub is thought to have convinced Fifa committee chair Tokyo Sexwale, the second-most powerful man in Fifa after its new president Gianni Infantino, to support his measure.

    An Israeli diplomatic source said that Israeli embassies globally were trying to convince friendly governments to advise their representatives at Fifa to delay the vote.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees the move as the first stage in Palestinian efforts to impose wider boycotts on Israel and has directed his national security council to take charge of the diplomatic campaign to prevent a vote.

    The move is seen as the first stage in efforts for wider boycotts

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