Israeli fury as mood swings towards barring of teams in occupied territories

The impasse over football’s Middle East crisis has taken another divisive twist with FIFA reportedly backing the Palestinian cause to the fury of Israeli officials. FIFA has been at pains, until its congress in May, not to reveal the details of last week’s behind-closed-doors meeting between its chief mediator in the region Tokyo Sexwale and the two respective federations over the thorny issue of Israeli clubs based in the occupied territories. But according to agency reports, Israeli FA chief Ofer Eini was furious when Sexwale threatened to suspend Israel from all international competitions – exactly what the Palestinians have long sought – unless the six teams in question are disbarred for breaching FIFA statutes.