The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) reportedly urged FIFA to expel Israel from the International Football league for restricting Arab teams from entering Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled territories. In a reaction to the allegations, President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, threatened to suspend Israel because of the government’s interference in football.
During President Blatter’s recent “diplomatic mission” to Ramallah on Sunday, The Jewish Chronicle reported that the FIFA president relayed the threats of PFA’s leader Jibril Rajub that he would call on delegates at FIFA’s upcoming congress to expel Israel if the matter is not resolved.
Rajoub told reporters, "We ask [FIFA] for a red card, because the yellow card has been raised now for a long time." He added, "We are clinging to the red card to take away the Israeli occupation's legitimacy and we will not accept any compromise."
The threats came when Israel denied representatives of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), including 12 Arab national football associations, permits to enter the PA territories to play in the WAFF Under-17's Championship, that was due to begin Thursday.
“Three managers of the Jordanian football union, two UAE representatives and 13 managers and players from Iraq were refused entry,” Rajoub said.
Rajoub reportedly told AFP that WAFF called upon FIFA to "put pressure on Israel to issue the necessary permits" for the tournament.
Israel is not the only country the FIFA has threatened in the past. The country of Cameroon was suspended last week over government interference in the country’s football federation. “If Israel is not careful the only team it will be able to play is Cameroon,” Blatter told Israel Football Association Chairman Avi Luzon.
Blatter continued to say that this only a warning for Israel, “I hope we won’t need to suspend Israel. The Euro Under-21 tournament in Israel was a huge success and it’s a shame that everything would be ruined. We are not talking about a yellow card but a warning.”
The PA controlled territories are due to host the WAFF Under-21's Youth Championship in the first week of October. Israel will need to supply permits for all the teams to enter the area.