Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration) Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority is determined to get Israel booted out of FIFA, the international organization that manages several soccer leagues, and doing so is “a gross attempt to mix sports and politics,” said Ofer Eini, chairman of the Israel Football (Soccer) Federation. Eini, along with Rotem Kamer, CEO of the Federation, are set to leave Sunday for an emergency FIFA meeting in Switzerland to attempt to head off the PA's efforts to get Israel removed from FIFA leagues.

Several weeks ago, Palestinian Authority top terrorist Jibril Rajoub told Israeli newspaper Maariv that he intended to get Israel booted out of FIFA. Rajoub, who chairs the PA's Football Association, filed a petition with FIFA to suspend Israel, claiming that Israel discriminates against Arab players, and refuses to allow teams from PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria to travel to and from Gaza.

To counter that claim, Eini and Kamer will present evidence of their own testifying to the widespread inclusion of Arabs in Israeli soccer, with facts, figures, videos, and other items.

The PA has yet to file a petition to have Israel ejected from FIFA. According to organization rules, the PA needs two thirds of FIFA's 143 members to vote for Israel's ejection. Currently, only 72 said that they would do so, but it was possible that several countries who promised to remain neutral might change their minds, Eini and Kamer believe. To prevent that, they intend to meet with top FIFA officials to seek ways to prevent the PA from seeking a vote in the first place.

Speaking before his flight to Switzerland, Eini said that “with all due respect, we do not set Israeli security or diplomatic policy. Instead of allowing soccer to become a bridge to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the PA seeks to impose boycotts and sanctions, which will only make matters worse.”