KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Palestine is to chase FIFA all the way to Court of Arbitration for Sport on its filibuster over the Israeli settlement issue.
While pressure groups on both sides of the Middle East divide maintain their shrill extremist rhetoric, so the Palestine Football Association has run out of patience.
The world football federation, at its congress in Manama, Bahrain, on Thursday postponed further consideration of the issue until its council meeting on October 27.
Originally, in sports terms alone, Palestine’s grievance against Israel concerned restrictions on the free movement of athletes and sporting goods in and out of the West Bank and also between Ramallah and Gaza.
Palestinian anger was exacerbated by the Israeli federation’s inclusion in its league system of six teams from the settlements which have been declared illegal by the United Nations.
That handed Palestine solid sporting grounds on which to challenge Israel because it appeared to contravene FIFA statutes concerning a member association’s territorial integrity.
A FIFA monitoring taskforce under South African anti-apartheid campaigner-turned-millionaire Tokyo Sexwale had been charged with achieving the impossible, and devising a solution to this one sporting facet of the age-old dispute.
Sexwale’s apparently most favoured proposal, giving Israel six months to resolve the issue, was then shelved. FIFA president Gianni Infantino is apparently hoping that Israel’s attitudes may be affected by intervention on the wider issues from President Donald Trump.
In the meantime the PFA will chase FIFA all the way to CAS.
A statement in the wake of the congress retreat said it was “disappointed that FIFA has decided to allow political pressure to win over FIFA statutes.”
The PFA would “pursue the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport because we consider the way in which our proposal was overthrown by Mr Infantino illegal and an additional violation of the FIFA statutes and standing orders of the congress.”