KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Palestine’s football federation has been on notice that its attempt to have Israel suspended from world football is out of order.

Leaders of both the Palestine and Israeli associations have been in Zurich since the start of the week, lobbying support for their intransigent positions over the freedom of access issue.

PFA president Jibril Rajoub, after being persuaded to hold back at the past two FIFA Congresses, has registered a demand that this year’s assembly on Friday bars the Israelis over the long-running dispute affecting travel permits for players, officials and sporting goods in and out of the West Bank and Gaza.

Ofer Eini, head of the Israel FA, has insisted he has done all he can but that control is vested in his country’s government and security services. Shuttle diplomacy by FIFA president Sepp Blatter has failed to achieve a truce.

Now the world federation’s executive committee has lent its support to Blatter who has always considered the dispute a matter of politics and not sport. Hence the exco’s pre-congress meeting resolved that “a FIFA member association should not be suspended if it has not violated the FIFA statutes.”

Blatter must hope that the exco’s effective direction to congress plus new proposals for mediation will persuade the increasingly impatient Palestinians to withdraw their resolution.

In any case it would need a three-quarters majority for approval which is unlikely since a majority of Europe’s 53 votes out of the 209 in congress would resist such action against one of its own members.

Israel is a member of UEFA while Palestine belongs to the Asian Football Confederation.

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