ZURICH: The delay in presentation of the latest FIFA report into the Palestine-Israel situation appears to have headed off the prospect of trouble at congress in Bahrain in May writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

South African anti-apartheid campaigner Tokyo Sexwale, who leads a monitoring panel, had been due to update the world governing body’s council in January.

However his reporting date was pushed back and he will not provide any update to FIFA Council until after his next round of meetings in the region this week.

Several times in the past four years the Palestinian threat of a demand that congress expel Israel has been withdrawn after grudging agreements on further diplomatic efforts.

However apparently insoluble deadlock has been reached now over the six Israeli clubs which are playing in settlements declared by the United Nations as illegally sited on Palestine territory.

This contravenes FIFA statutes.

Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association, has been reported by Aljazeera as describing the reporting delay as a “fatal mistake.”

‘Last meeting’

He added: “Now we have the last meeting and we have to explain our position. If they are going to solve this issue – OK. If not, we have no other choice: we will go to the congress next May in Bahrain and ask for the imposition of sanctions against the Israeli federation.”

Rajoub may find himself beaten by the clock and congress regulations.

FIFA statutes say: “Any proposal that a member association wishes to submit to the Congress shall be sent to the general secretariat in writing, with a brief explanation, at least two months before the date of the congress.”

This year FIFA Congress will take place in Bahrain on May 11 hence any Palestinian proposal should have been registered by March 11, nine days ago.

Any vote to amend the regulations governing standing orders would need a simple majority of more than 50pc of the membership.

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