ZURICH: Ofer Eini has written to all 209 member associations of FIFA urging them to block at an attempt to have the Israel Football Association suspended from the world football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Eini is chairman of the IFA and, along with chief executive Rotem Kamer, was meeting FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich today in a bid to block a suspension resolution being put to congress in Zurich on May 29 by the Palestinian federation.

Blatter has led attempts over the past two years to ease the long-standing dispute concerning freedom of movement of athletes and sporting goods in and out of Palestine.

However in March Jibril Rajoub, head of both the PFA and the Palestinian Olympic Committee, indicated he had run out of patience and would submit a resolution to congress in Zurich demanding action.

Security issues

The Israeli football authorities insist they have worked hard to improve matters but possess no power of control or influence over the strategy of government and security services.

Blatter met Rajoub on the sidelines of the recent African confederation congress. The FIFA president has appealed ever more loudly over the past two months for efforts to keep politics out of sport but his words have fallen on deaf ears.

Israel is a member of European federation UEFA while Palestine is a member of the Asian Football Confederation which reiterated its support only last week.

Blatter, who does not want the Palestine/Israel issue drawing a shroud of controversy over his own likely re-election, may yet travel to both Israel and Palestine in search of a further truce.

A statement from the IFA insisted that it would do all it could to avert suspension and “looked forward” to mediation efforts by Blatter. The statement added that Eini had written to the presidents of all the world’s football federations urging them to reject the Palestinian resolution.