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FIFA May Ban the Israeli National Team From Future Tournaments

fingers crossed!

In a recent development, football’s international governing body, FIFA, is reportedly probing the idea of suspending Israel’s national team from competing in upcoming tournaments. During their annual congress in Bangkok, on Friday, President Gianni Infantino revealed that the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) lodged a complaint accusing their Israeli counterparts of contravening FIFA’s statutes over the ongoing war and the inclusion of some teams located in illegal settlements into its domestic league.

“How much more must the Palestine football family suffer for FIFA to act with the same severity and urgency as it did in other cases?” PFA president Jibril Rajoub said. “Does Fifa consider some wars to be more important than others and some victims to be more significant?” he added.

“We are facing a cynical political and hostile attempt by the Palestinian association to harm Israeli football. (…) Seven months after the terrible day, when football matches cannot be played in large parts of Israel, north and south, and over 130 Israelis are still being held in Gaza, it is an injustice that even in these circumstances we find ourselves fighting for our basic right to be part of the game,” Shino Moshe Zuares, the president of the Israel Football Association (IFA), said in response.

Calling for “appropriate sanctions, with immediate effect, against Israeli teams”, per official FIFA documents, Infantino has since announced commissioning an independent legal body to analyse the PFA’s request. The findings would be discussed in a meeting set to take place by July 25.

“This legal assessment will have to allow for inputs and claims of both member associations. The results of this analysis and the recommendations which will follow from this analysis will subsequently be forwarded to the Fifa Council,” the 54-year-old explained.

Since the start of the genocide, which began on Oct. 7, 2023, Palestine’s football community has suffered many losses due to Israeli violence, including Mohammed Barakat, who played for Ahly Gaza and the national team, before he died when his house in Khan Younes was bombed. The PFA says 158 athletes, including 91 football players from various divisions, have been killed by Israeli forces.

As we look forward to the resolution of the above matter, one cannot help but wonder why it has taken so long to implement sanctioning measures against colonizing powers—especially seven months after the most recent escalation of tensions, which has resulted in the loss of over 30,000 lives. In 2022, following Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, the international community had managed to reach a clear consensus on how to manage the crisis, yet, the hesitance this time around only seems to raise concerns about how selective international bodies can be regarding certain issues and conflicts.

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