Posted by Kristin McCarthy on October 05, 2016 in Blog

Screen_Shot_2016-10-05_at_11.14.34_AM.pngAhead of the FIFA Council Meeting October 14-15, AAI sent letters to the President of FIFA and the President of U.S. Soccer to provide input on an important agenda item: the status of Israeli settlement soccer clubs in FIFA and in the Israeli Football Association. Currently, there are at least five Israeli clubs based in illegal Israel settlements (Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Bik’at Hayarden, Givat Ze’ev, Kiryat Arba, and Oranit) that are included in the Israeli Football Association’s league. It is our strong recommendation that FIFA should ask Israel to either relocate or suspend the settlement clubs from their national league, or else be suspended as a member of FIFA. Settlement clubs clearly violate FIFA’s own statutes governing member association conduct (Articles 11 [1], 72 [2], 73, and 3]).

This issue was first brought to FIFA last year, at the 65th FIFA Congress when the Palestine Football Association petitioned to have the Israeli association suspended from FIFA over several issues including the settlement clubs as well as Israel’s restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinian athletes and equipment. FIFA brokered a compromise by convincing the Palestinian representatives to withdraw their petition with a promise to establish a monitoring committee lead. Since then, FIFA has indeed established a committee to consider the question of settlement teams, led by South African government minister Tokyo Sexwale, which has been working over the past year to delve into the issues of settlement clubs, interference in Palestinian league, racism in Israeli stadiums, and more. The committee is expected to make its recommendation to FIFA at the meeting this month.

We hope that FIFA takes seriously its own statutes and enforces them fairly and equally across the soccer world. FIFA recently recommitted to promoting and respecting human rights, and as has been documented by countless NGOs and the United Nations, Israeli settlement pose innumerable violations to the well-being of Palestinian human rights.

Please join us in tweeting your concerns about Israeli settlements to FIFA (@FIFAcom) ahead of their meeting. You can retweet AAI here, or write your own.