European MPs call on FIFA to ban illegal Israeli settlement clubs

Published September 11th, 2016 - 04:12 GMT
Over 60 members of the European Parliament agree that clubs based in Israeli-settlements violate FIFA Statutes
Over 60 members of the European Parliament agree that clubs based in Israeli-settlements violate FIFA Statutes

Sixty six Members of the European Parliament (MEP) sent on Friday a letter to Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, regarding the issue of football clubs in Israeli settlements that is currently on FIFA's agenda and is supposed to be discussed at the FIFA Council meeting on October 13-14.

"As you know, there are at least five Israeli football clubs in West Bank settlements that play in the Israeli football league," the letter noted.

"However, the West Bank is part of the occupied Palestinian territory, which falls under the Palestinian Football Association.

"The settlement clubs, therefore, clearly violate FIFA's Statutes," said the letter.

The 66 European lawmakers called on FIFA President to act in accordance with FIFA Statutes, international law, the existing precedents and FIFA's human rights commitments.

"On this basis, FIFA should rule that settlement clubs either fully relocate within Israel's internationally recognized borders or are excluded from the Israeli Football Association," it said.

It noted that the European Union's position, widely shared internationally, is that the settlements are "illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.

"The international consensus is that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is an occupied Palestinian territory, not a disputed territory.

"The EU, as well as the United States, routinely exclude settlements from their cooperation programs and agreements with Israel, and FIFA should do the same," the letter added.

The appeal to FIFA was launched by Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith.


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