(JNS.org) Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter is calling on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians ahead of a vote that could expel the Jewish state from world soccer’s governing body.
Blatter is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on May 20 in an effort to find a solution to complaints over Israel’s alleged restrictions on Palestinian soccer players.
“The onus in this respect is on Israel with its outstanding infrastructure, fully functioning professional league, and economic context,” Blatter wrote in his column for FIFA's weekly magazine.
Blatter added that Israel should make it easier for Palestinian and foreign soccer players, as well as equipment, to get in and out of the disputed territories, AFP reported.
The Palestinians, who have been members of FIFA since 1998, have initiated a motion at the next FIFA congress on May 28 to bar Israel from international competition. The Palestinians also oppose the participation of five soccer clubs located in Judea and Samaria communities in Israeli national championships.
Under Blatter’s leadership, FIFA has been accused of corruption and bribery relating to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Blatter, who is up for re-election as FIFA’s chief, said the Israeli-Palestinian soccer dispute is “the biggest challenge” facing him right now.