Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Authority’s soccer federation, on Friday blasted the decision by governing soccer body FIFA to suspend him for one year, blaming Israel for it.
"These are measures based on unilateral media reports in addition to misinformation from right-wing organizations in Israel," claimed Rajoub, according to a report in Kan 11 News.
FIFA earlier announced the suspension over Rajoub's call to burn Lionel Messi shirts and photos with the likeness of the soccer megastar, when Messi was scheduled to play a friendly match with the Argentinian national soccer team in Israel.
The match was eventually cancelled, with the Argentinian team citing threats against Messi as the reason.
FIFA stated that "The Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, with a 12-month match suspension and a fine of CHF 20,000 for breaching article 53 (Inciting hatred and violence) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, following media statements he gave calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi."
"The Disciplinary Committee held that Mr. Rajoub’s statements incited hatred and violence, and consequently imposed the above-mentioned sanctions," the federation added.
Rajoub, along with several anti-Israel organizations, has in the past attempted to force soccer governing body FIFA to ban six Israeli teams based in Judea and Samaria. He claims that their presence there is in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbids another member association playing on another territory without permission.
Last October, FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced his organization would not intervene in the issue and that it considers the matter closed.
Rajoub later accused FIFA of caving to Israeli pressure, saying Infantino “did not deal appropriately” with his complaints against Israel.
Earlier this year, Rajoub was filmed as he verbally confronted Border Police officers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron, telling one of them to "shut up, go to hell."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)