Palestinian soccer officials get court date for FIFA case against Israel

A Palestinian challenge against FIFA’s handling of a complaint against the Israeli soccer federation will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport this month. CAS said its panel will hear the Palestinian Football Association’s appeal on November 27. A verdict is expected weeks later.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said his organization would not intervene after years of attempted mediation between its two member federations. FIFA views the matter as a political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians and has thus elected not to intervene.

The Palestinians’ appeal to CAS followed Infantino steering the soccer body’s annual congress in May to delay debate on a FIFA-appointed task force’s report. It could have stopped West Bank settlement clubs from playing in the Israeli league. The PFA had complained that the activities of six Israeli clubs based in settlements beyond the Green Line were in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbid member associations from playing in another nation’s territory without permission.

Palestinians have said that as a full FIFA member the PFA has the right to block Israeli teams from playing on land Palestinians considers their own. It demanded that FIFA take punitive action against the Israeli teams. Israel argues that FIFA rules are unenforceable as there is no permanent, recognized border in the area.
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