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FIFA seeks ‘legal expertise’ before decision on Israel soccer ban proposal

FIFA postponed its decision on a proposal to suspend the Israeli soccer team from international soccer because of its ongoing war against Hamas, to seek a “legal assessment.”

The proposal came from the Palestine Football Association who are against the war. Israel launched its attack on Hamas following the Oct. 7 terror attack in the country that left hundreds dead. FIFA will make its decision on the proposal within two months.

“Now, due to the obvious sensitivity of these matters, FIFA will mandate as of now independent legal expertise to analyze and assess the three requests made by the Palestinian Football Association and ensure that the statutes and regulations of FIFA are applied in the correct way in order to ensure a fair and due process,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said. “This legal assessment will have to allow for inputs and claims of both member associations. The results and the recommendations … will be forwarded to the FIFA council.

“Due to the urgency of the situation, an extraordinary FIFA Council will be convened and will take place before July 20 to review the results of the legal assessment and to take the decisions that are appropriate.”

The Palestine Football Association called for “appropriate sanctions with immediate effect, against Israel teams.” The proposal claimed Israel violated international laws and that “all the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed, or seriously damaged, including the historic stadium of Al-Yarmuk.”

Jibril Rajoub in Thailand


The association’s leader, Jibril Rajoub, said on Friday that “the Palestinian people, including the Palestinian football family, are enduring an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.” He claimed that 193 soccer players had died as a result of the war.

Infantino said a vote couldn’t have happened Friday because it had to be dealt with by FIFA’s governing council.

“I do not want to divide our 211 member countries,” he said. “I have a responsibility as president to apply the statutes of FIFA and its regulations, whatever my personal conviction on these and other terrible matters around the world.”

He said at the FIFA council meeting on Wednesday that all 37 member nations had unanimously agreed to condemn the violence that has taken place.

Banner at a soccer game

“The FIFA Council also reiterated that football should not and should never become a hostage of politics and always remain … a force of good uniting people rather than dividing,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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