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Mahmoud Sarsak and Eric Cantona
Palestinian footballer and former prisoner and hunger-striker, Mahmoud Sarsak, with former footballer, Eric Cantona.

The issue of Israeli disruption of Palestinian football was once again discussed by FIFA at its 11th June Congress in Sao Paolo.

Prior to the Congress FIFA President Sepp Blatter had indicated that he would not support sanctions against the Israel Football Association, despite severe ongoing Israeli violations. In his report to Congress, however, Blatter appeared to place the blame for the lack of progress squarely on Israel’s shoulders, calling on the Israeli government to facilitate free movement for Palestinian athletes and declaring that “its cooperation is crucial”.

FIFA will now appoint an independent committee to monitor progress on the issue, reporting back to its Executive Committee in December.

Meanwhile Palestine has qualified to take part in next year’s AFC Asian Cup, its first ever major footballing competition. The national team achieved this milestone by winning the AFC Challenge Cup on 30th May, providing a rare moment of celebration across the nation. Despite the best efforts of the Occupier, football is providing an effective outlet for Palestinian national pride.

In the meantime, Red Card Israeli Racism continues to call for sanctions against the Israel Football Association and insists that in their absence no meaningful progress will be achieved towards the free movement and personal safety of sporting professionals, the free import of sports equipment and the free development of sporting facilities.

RCIR is therefore continuing to petition FIFA to suspend the membership of the Israeli Football Association until Israel respects the human rights of Palestinians and observes international law. Its petition has attracted over 13,000 signatures to date. You can sign it at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/fifa-suspend-the-israeli-football-association-s-fifa-membership.

RCIR also continues to campaign for the boycott of Israel at a European level.

The IFA is currently bidding for Jerusalem to be included as a venue in UEFA’s Euro 2020 Finals. On 30th April The Independent published a letter of protest at Jerusalem’s inclusion in the bidding process, drafted by RCIR and signed by 25 famous supporters of Palestinian rights including several PSC patrons. It is outrageous that Jerusalem should be considered a fit venue for sporting competitions while Israel attempts to ethnically cleanse the city.

RCIR has set forth its perspective most recently on the Football Beyond Borders blog, in The Morning Star, and on the website of Kick It Out.

You can sign their petition here>

In addition, a number of excellent recent articles provide a wealth of background information:




If you would like to join the campaign, please contact RCIR, via Facebook  or by email at [email protected].