FIFA is to open disciplinary proceedings against Palestinian Football Association (PFA) President Jibril Rajoub over his recent statements in the lead-up to a planned friendly match between Israel and Argentina that was eventually cancelled.
This is positive news from CUFI UK’s perspective as we are currently running a campaign for FIFA to take action against Rajoub’s appalling actions that endangered the life of another player, his family and the rest of the team. Click below to sign the petition.
Rajoub deliberately called for people to target Lionel Messi, resulting in threats of violence against him and the Argentinian team.
Rajoub made his threats as he objected to a friendly match between Israel and Argentina that was supposed to take place on Saturday, 9 June, but has been cancelled due to the threats of violence.
On 3 June 2018, Jibril Rajoub said in a TV interview, “Starting from today we [the PFA] will start a campaign against the Argentinian [Football] Association… we will target Messi and will demand that everyone burn their [Messi] shirts and pictures and renounce him”.
Rajoub’s comments incited a torrent of online abuse, including threats of physical violence against an individual player, Lionel Messi, and his family, as well as his team-mates and staff of the Argentinian football team.
⚠ URGENTE ⚠️
Algunos palestinos quemaron banderas argentinas y mostraron camisetas de Messi manchadas de sangre. pic.twitter.com/TXRS73Q0ub
— Industria Argentina (@industriarg) June 5, 2018
Israeli ministers claimed that terror groups had made direct threats on the lives of Argentina’s players and their families.
Protesters also targeted the training ground the Argentinian players were using in Spain where they held up Argentine football jerseys with red paint splattered on them to represent blood.
The news of the disciplinary comes after FIFA member nations voted 82% to 18% against a proposal put forth by Rajoub to sanction and suspend the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA claiming the Jewish State violates human rights.
The IFA welcomed the result of the vote as a victory against the Palestinians repeated attempts to use sport as a weapon against Israel.
“This is a recurring ritual in which Rajoub attempts to lead FIFA decisions against our football [teams] and against the State of Israel,” Israel Football Association Chairman Ofer Eini said of the vote.
“Thanks to proper and thoughtful work, we succeeded in explaining to FIFA members what the motivating factor behind these apparently innocent suggestions are, and that the person suggesting them has crossed every red line,” he said.
“We have a true friend in FIFA…and therefore Rajoub fails time after time. Israeli football will continue to be part of the international community, and the State of Israel will continue to enjoy support in the world football association.”
Last year FIFA President Gianni Infantino, seemingly fed up with the Palestinians behaviour at FIFA, sent UN Secretary-General António Guterres a letter saying that FIFA is tired of dealing with political issues, stating “We are not a playground for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
We await the outcome of this vote, but are hopeful that FIFA will take robust action against the Palestinian FA.