Fifa president Sepp Blatter to hold crisis talks in Jerusalem as Palestinian FA bid to have Israel banned from international football

The Palestinian FA claim their Israeli counterparts have violated Fifa's standards and ethics

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter is travelling to Jerusalem today in order to hold crisis talks after the Palestinian Football Association revealed plans to launch a bid in order to have the Israeli national team banned from Fifa.

Blatter will meet with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later this afternoon, before travelling to Ramallah on Wednesday to speak with the Palestinian President Mahmour Abbas following the news that Palestine’s FA is looking to push through a bid to have Israel suspended from international football at the annual Fifa congress later this month due to violations of the governing body’s standards and ethics.

Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian FA, claims that their players and officials face unwarranted travel restrictions between Gaza and the West Bank, as reported by Sky News. He also said that international opponents of Palestine are often blocked from entering such areas without a sufficient explanation.

 

"I don't want to cause suffering, even to the Israeli footballers, but as long as their federation is defending, instead of fighting against the racism and restricting the Palestinian footballers' movements, they are part of the occupation," Rajoub said when speaking to Sky News.

"We are asking for free movement, no racism and to respect our jurisdiction within our territories."

While the Palestinian FA claim the move is solely to keep politics out of sport, the Israeli Football Association have claimed the opposite, and have accused their counterparts of attempting to politicise sport.

"We will not allow for Israel to be presented as a country which violated the agreements which it signed, and we will do all in our power to prevent any kind of ban," Ofer Eini, the Chairman of the Israeli Football Association, told the Jerusalem Post.

"I certainly expect the Fifa president to speak out loud and clear on this matter and to prevent this malicious move.”

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Blatter alongside Palestinian President Mahmour Abbas

The Palestinian FA would need to present their motion to the Fifa congress and gain a three-quarter majority of the 209 member votes to have it passed.

Israel’s national team are currently third in the Uefa European Championship Qualifying Group B, with the best third-place finisher set to join the top-two from each group in Euro 2016. The rest of the third place sides will then contest the play-offs.

Palestine meanwhile have qualified for the Asia Cup for the first time in their history, and complete under the Asian Football Confederation.

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