Football: Blatter mediating between Israel and Palestinians

Calling for a vote on Israeli suspension from FIFA

21 May, 10:43

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, MAY 21 - FIFA president Sepp Blatter's two-day visit to the Middle East to persuade the Palestinian football federation to drop its proposal to suspend Israel from the world body resulted in "constructive talks" with Israeli and Palestinian political and football authorities. The Palestinians accuse Israel of restricting the movement of its players for political reasons and they have lodged a motion calling for Israel's suspension from FIFA which the body will be called to vote upon during the upcoming FIFA Congress scheduled on May 28 and 29.

    Blatter met Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Rami Hamdallah together with the president of the Palestinian football federation, Jibril Al Rajoub. Blatter also met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the president of the Israeli football federation Ofer Eini on the first day of his 'football peace-mission'. Blatter stressed that during the talks "we agreed that football should unite and not divide us. I have come here on a peace-mission, because football should strenghten peace and leave politics aside. On the basis of my talks, I remain confident that despite the difficult situation we will be able to find a solution in the interest of football and of all parties involved during the next FIFA congress".

    Blatter discussed with Israeli authorities "ways to guarantee the mobility of Palestinian players and football officials". The creation of a "football pass" as well as "tax deductions for donations targeting the development of football in the region" were envisaged and Blatter said he hoped the Palestinian motion would be withdrawn. "We will promote monthly meetings between Israeli and Palestinian authorities through work-groups which FIFA will also attend. As the president of FIFA I do not regard the suspension of a football federation as a solution".(ANSAmed).

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