FA unanimously grants Palestinian-Saudi match on Saudi soil

PNN/Bethlehem

FA council decided on Thursday to grant a scheduled international match between the Saudi and Palestinian national teams on June 11. The match will be played on Saudi soil and will be part of the first qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup.

The council stressed that the decision comes in recognition of the exceptional circumstances prevailing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, emphasizing that this step should not be seen as a detriment to the outstanding achievement of Palestinian sports, but as a celebration of the home pitch which was inaugurated in 2008 by a historic match between Jordan and Palestine.

FA council instructed the Secretary-General of the Federation, Abdul Majed Hajeh, to address the international and continental football Unions, and all other concerned parties, in order to complete all necessary procedures.

This comes after Palestine Football Association (PFA) withdraw its bid to exclude Israel from FIFA due to reports of Israeli violations of the FIFA statutes. PFA cited Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinian players, the fact that 5 Israeli teams play out of illegal West Bank settlements and ongoing Israeli discrimination against Palestinian players as reasons for the withdrawal of Israeli membership to FIFA.

The bid was withdrawn after PFA president Jibril Rajoub came under pressure on Sunday to amend his demand for Israel’s expulsion from FIFA.