World football chief Blatter says he ‘cannot’ prevent vote on ejecting Israel


The president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, remains opposed to football’s governing body holding a vote on whether to eject Israel from international competitions, but has admitted that he did not have the authority to remove the motion from the agenda.

Speaking after a meeting last night with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Blatter said: "Football should connect and not divide people.”

On Tuesday he also met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and asked him to remove a Palestinian FA resolution from the agenda of the Fifa Congress in Zurich on May 29.

Mr Blatter asked Israel to relax travel restrictions for Palestinian footballers moving between Gaza and the West Bank in exchange for the Palestinians removing the resolution.

Mr Netanyahu said: "We will consider a certain number of measures that will improve the situation of Palestinian football." He did not elaborate, but did eagerly embrace a proposal for an Israel-Palestine friendly football match. Israel FA chief Rotem Kamer said that over 90 per cent of Palestinian players did not face travel restrictions but security considerations prevented completely free travel for all.

The Palestinian FA will need a two-thirds majority of Fifa's 209 members in order to have Israel thrown out of all international competitions.

Rachel Liel, executive director of the New Israel Fund in Israel, which runs the country's campaign against racism in football, wrote to Mr Blatter expressing her opposition to the Palestinian resolution: "Suspending Israel from Fifa will only polarize Israelis and Palestinians even further on a racial and ethnic basis."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive