FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter Reuters

FIFA leaders on Tuesday stepped up efforts to head off a vote called by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to expel Israel from football's world body claiming unfair treatment of its players.

"Negotiations are still going on but they are very complicated," a top FIFA official told AFP.

"There may not be a solution until the final hours," added the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has held talks with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to prevent the politically charged vote at a FIFA congress on Friday.

FIFA would not discuss the talks. But a spokeswoman for the governing body said "only Palestine can withdraw the demand to suspend Israel from the agenda."

Palestinian Football Association president Jibril Rajoub has so far refused to withdraw the motion that will require the backing of three quarters of the 209 member federations to pass.

The PA, which has been a FIFA member since 1998, wants world football's governing body to bar Israel from international competition over its restrictions on the movement of Palestinian players - the same restrictions it has against all Palestinian Arabs living in the PA. 

It also opposes the participation in the Israeli championships of five clubs located in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. 

Blatter told the FIFA executive committee on Monday about his trip to the Middle East last week to meet Netanyahu and Abbas. But he did not report a deal.

Blatter's main talks have been with Rajoub and Israel Football Association President Ofer Eini who says restrictions on Palestinian players are a security question outside of FIFA's jurisdiction.

"The FIFA president will report to the Congress on this dossier later this week with the aim of providing a framework for strengthening the development of football in the region," said a FIFA statement.

Blatter strongly opposes the vote saying it is bringing politics into football and that Israel has not breached FIFA's statutes.

"The executive underlined that a FIFA member association should not be suspended if it has not violated the FIFA statutes," said the statement.