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The president of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) says Palestine wants Israel to be expelled from the world's soccer governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), over the regime’s treatment of Palestinian athletes.
Jibril Rajoub made the comments on Friday after taking part in a ceremony where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) in the Bahraini capital of Manama.
The PFA president in 2014 withdrew a resolution that called on delegates to slap sanctions against the Israeli regime at FIFA's Congress in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo. However, he highlighted on Friday he would go ahead with the same proposal in the upcoming FIFA Congress in the Swiss city of Zurich on May 29.
Rajoub added that he “would not make the concessions” this time because nothing has changed in the way Israel is “persecuting Palestine footballers, athletes and the movement of sporting equipment.”
Palestinians dropped the 2014 resolution when Europe became involved and Israel vowed to cooperate in improving the situation, he said, stressing that after one year the Tel Aviv regime is “still behaving like the neighborhood bully, or worse.”
Israeli aggression against Palestinian sportsmen and women in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip goes on, the Palestinian official said. “It is hostile and racist and the time has come to take action.”
The motion has already been tabled by the Palestinians and is on the Congress agenda despite FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s unwillingness.
The Palestinians’ proposal requires a three-quarter majority of FIFA's 209 members to succeed, with Rajoub expressing hope that Michel Platini, the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), would support Palestine.
"I think Michel Platini, who has backed Israel in the past, has had enough. He sent us sports equipment which was held by Israel for 16 months and we had to pay USD 32,000 to get it.”