ZURICH/RAMALLAH: Jibril Rajoub, head of both Palestina’s football federation and national Olympic committee, has been banned from football by FIFA for 12 months and fined 20,000 Swiss francs.
The world football federation acted after Rajoub’s comments urging fans to burn shirts and pictures of Lionel Messi before a scheduled friendly between Argentina and Israel.
The match had been due to take place in June in Tel-Aviv but was cancelled after the Israelis switched it to Jerusalem.
In June, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie had said he believed his country’s footballers “were not willing to play the game” against Israel.
After the match was cancelled, the Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Messi and his team-mates.
“What happened… is a red card from the rest of the world to Israelis,” Rajoub told a news conference, having earlier accused Israel of using the match as a “political tool”.
The Israel FA said it viewed “with severity the physical and brutal threats, which crossed every red line, made by” Rajoub.
It also vowed to “do everything in its power in the world football institutions to make Rajoub and the Palestinian FA accountable”.