Palestine FA asks FIFA to expel Israel with vote to be held in May at annual congress

The Palestine Football Association (PFA) has asked FIFA to expel the Israel Football Association (IFA) on the grounds of the country’s alleged human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the Israel-Hamas war.

The proposal was made by the PFA in a submission to the international football governing body for discussion at the 74th annual FIFA congress in Bangkok, where the 211 member nations will vote on a number of key issues — including confirmation of the host nation of the 2027 Women’s World Cup.

The PFA said it wanted to “address the unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Israel”.

It also called on FIFA to push the IFA to address discrimination and racism within its league and acknowledge violations of the federation’s statutes.

Article 4 of FIFA’s statutes prohibits “discrimination of any kind against a country or group of people” and says any breach of this non-discrimination obligation is punishable by “suspension or expulsion”.

The PFA cite a number of breaches which they believe contravene FIFA’s statutes and regulatory rules.

Those alleged violations include IFA’s “complicity in the Israeli government’s violations against Palestinian football”.

The PFA accuses the IFA of repeatedly failing in taking decisive action against discrimination and racism in areas under their jurisdiction “which constitutes a direct violation of article 3 of the FIFA statutes”.

It added: “The clearest example of this is ‘Beitar Jerusalem FC’, which is an Israeli professional football club from Jerusalem and a member of the Israeli Premier League.

“As reported by the Economist: supporters of the football club proudly sing about how it is ‘the most racist team’ in Israel. They scream epithets, such as ‘terrorist’, at the Arabs who play for opposing squads.”

In response, a spokesperson from the IFA said: “The call for IFA to be suspended from its FIFA membership and participation in international tournaments is nothing but a cynical and shameless move.”


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The PFA go on to claim Israeli football clubs openly block Arabs from joining its ranks, and harsh violence is treated merely as disciplinary offences “to be handled by the biased Israel Football Association’s internal dispute resolution mechanism”.

The submission also cites the damage inflicted to Gaza’s football infrastructure as a direct consequence of Israeli attacks.

It said: “All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed or seriously damaged, including the historic stadium of Al-Yarmuk, which was turned by the Israeli occupation into a concentration camp, as documented by more than one international organisation. Israeli bulldozers dug up the pitch just to destroy it.”

The PFA added: “The Jenin Club, Jenin camp club, and Nurshams club in the West Bank were damaged by the Israeli occupation army during the multiple incursions of both refugee camps after October 7.

“Licenses for Palestinians to build (sporting) infrastructure in the West Bank are routinely rejected by Israel.”

In 2022, FIFA expelled Russia’s national team from the Qatar World Cup and its club teams from all international football competitions “until further notice” after the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Members from FIFA’s 211 member nations will vote on the IFA’s proposal at next congress meeting, which begins on May 17 and lasts three days.

(Jaber Abdulkhaleq/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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