Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)iStock

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) soccer association is planning to call for action against Israel at the annual FIFA congress next month because of the conflict with Hamas, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.

The proposal to 211 member federations in Thailand calls for “appropriate sanctions, with immediate effect, against Israeli teams,” according to FIFA documents released late Wednesday, one month before the May 17 meeting.

The motion notes “international law violations committed by the Israeli occupation in Palestine, particularly in Gaza” and cites FIFA statutory commitments on human rights and against discrimination.

“All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed, or seriously damaged, including the historic stadium of Al-Yarmuk,” the PA federation wrote, claiming support for the congress motion from the federations of Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.

The latest call to punish Israel soccer will not be supported by FIFA and is unlikely to make progress because Israel can expect global backing including from the 55-member European soccer body UEFA it joined 30 years ago, according to AP.

Israeli national and club teams have continued to play in UEFA competitions since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas, though home games were played in neutral Hungary and Cyprus for security reasons.

The PA has sought FIFA action against Israel in the past. In 2017, FIFA decided it would not intervene in the PA’s bid to ban six Israeli teams in Judea and Samaria.

The PA claims that the presence of the teams in Judea and Samaria is in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbids another member association playing on another territory without permission.

The PA soccer federation has also complained that Israel hampers its activities, including limiting the movement of players between Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Gaza.

Last year, Indonesia was stripped by FIFA of hosting the men’s Under-20 World Cup because it refused to host games for Israel which qualified several months earlier. The tournament moved to Argentina and Israel reached the semifinals. Within weeks, FIFA compensated Indonesia with hosting rights for the men’s Under-17 World Cup played late last year, noted AP.