Football association to discipline Palestinian official over threats to Argentine team

Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub suffered public defeat at FIFA and now faces a probe over incitement by the world soccer body. 

By: World Israel News Staff

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) will launch disciplinary proceedings against Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub for alleged incitement after he exerted pressure on Argentina’s national football team to cancel a friendly match against Israel’s team in Jerusalem.

The Argentinian team apparently succumbed to the threats, particularly against its star player Lionel Messi, by canceling the event just three days before it was scheduled to take place.

Rajoub personally targeted Messi, urging him to boycott Israel. Messi, who visited Israel in the past, was reportedly behind the decision to cancel the match.

Rajoub implored Messi not to “play a role in whitewashing the ‘occupation’” and said that if he does play in Israel, Arab and Muslim sports fans should burn photos and t-shirts of the Barcelona superstar.

FIFA member federations also rejected Rajoub’s proposal to amend world football’s statutes with a stronger stance against “human rights abuses,” in particular those purportedly perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians.

In a 156-to-35 majority vote, FIFA rejected Rajoub’s amendment, which was formally supported by the Iraq and Algeria football bodies.

FIFA advised voters that it had already fulfilled all commitments to human rights in reforms passed over the past three years.

The Israel Football Association (IFA) last week filed a complaint against Rajoub and the PFA.

“The ritual repeats itself every time that Rajoub tries to lead to resolutions at FIFA against our soccer team and against the State of Israel,” IFA head Oferi Eini stated on Wednesday.

“Thanks to proper and sharp work we are succeeding in explaining to FIFA members what truly hides behind the seemingly innocent proposals of someone who has crossed every red line,” he added.

‘Rajoub fails time after time’

“We have true friends at UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) and the other confederations at FIFA, and therefore Rajoub fails time after time.”

“Israeli soccer will continue to be part of the international community, and the State of Israel will continue to enjoy great sympathy at the world football association,” Eini concluded.

The Palestinians have utilized FIFA several times in recent years as a platform for attacking Israel.

Rajoub, who served time in an Israeli prison for acts of terror, is the driving force behind the Palestinian battle against Israel in the world of sports.

“Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity,” Rajoub stated in 2014.