Israel steps up lobbying as FIFA considers suspending settlement based teams

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Israel has stepped up its lobbying as the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) last month established a committee to deal with the issue of settlement clubs.

Fifa might take such steps since its bylaws “bar any country from setting up teams in another country’s territory, or letting such teams play in its own leagues without the other country’s consent” – a clause which Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub.

According to Haaretz, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is growing concerns that next month’s meeting of the  will result in a decision to expel six Israeli clubs based in West Bank settlements, or even expel Israel from FIFA.

The six clubs which could be affected are all low-level league teams in Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, Givat Ze’ev, Oranit and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians have been calling since 2015 for the world governing football body to exclude Israel from competitions until clubs playing in the occupied territories are barred, especially that the settlements are illegal in international law.