KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The most dramatic moments at FIFA Congress on Friday was not the presidential election but the electric exchanges on the road to compromise between the Palestinian and Israeli football federations.
Of course the long-running crisis in the Middle East is a immeasurably greater significance than anything within the ambit of world football so the exchanges between respective FA presidents Jibril Rajoub and Ofer Eini lifted debate far out and beyond the world of mere football.
In the end, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter displaying nimble diplomatic footwork to keep control, the PFA and IFA accepted a compromise proposal for a congress monitoring committee to try to help resolve the football issues at dispute.
Previously Rajoub had been heading for congress with the intention of demanding Israel’s suspension.
Blatter expressed the hope today, after the first meeting of the new FIFA executive committee, that yesterday’s development would prove helpful, even beyond the sporting context.
He said: “For the third time consecutively at FIFA Congress there has emerged this difficulty between the federations of Palestine and Israel.
“Yesterday we witnessed how Palestine played with a big heart. They were convinced they could win a vote to suspend the [Israeli] federation and this did not happen; they amended their own proposal and removed it.
“I think this is an exceptional gesture that deserves to be commended and I hope it will serve as a happy omen in the region and also between the two countries.
“Maybe football can be the precursor towards a solution that everybody wants. The two contries, two nations, have shown and proved that they can work together.”
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