KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Sepp Blatter believes that gradual progress is being made in trying to ease the restrictions placed on Palestinian football by Israeli security authorities.
Last May’s FIFA Congress authorised the president to retrace steps both he and the then Olympic leader Jacques Rogge had trodden in two years ago.
The prompt came from an impassioned plea from Jibril Rajoub over the ongoing problems over travel permits domestic and foreign players and officials travelling to and from the West Bank and Gaza.
Blatter, reporting back to his executive, said: “Myself and a delegation visited Palestine and Israel including the political authorities there to try improve relations beween the two associations which are both full members of FIFA but, sadly, don’t have the same rights.
“That is not a problem FIFA can resolve but maybe we can lend a helping hand.”
Two meetings had now been held between representatives of the PFA and IFA and it was hoped that lines of communication and cooperation had been improved.
Blatter added: “Our goal is that at next year’s congress in Sao Paulo we will be able to present some sort of memorandum of understanding which would be important for the world of football and also, maybe, for the political world . . . a sign of better times to come thanks to football, maybe.”
* FIFA Congress next June in Sao Paulo will conclude the reform process by considering the issues of age and term limits (held over from the Mauritius Congress last May).
* Sunil Gulati, president of the US federation, is new president of the FIFA media commission.
* A further grant of $800,000 has been approved to the Jordan FA towards the provision of mini pitches for Syrian refugees.
* Next FIFA exco meeting on December 4-5 ahead of the 2014 World Cup draw in Salvador de Bahia.