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Palestinians lament FIFA's delayed decision on settlement teams

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When Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, took the stand May 11 at the 67th Congress of the international soccer governing body FIFA, leaders were embarrassed. FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s body language spoke volumes. “This is the fifth time that I address this Congress, and you are saying it is premature to take a decision,” Rajoub said in response to FIFA's postponing a decision on Palestinian demands that six Israeli settlement clubs stop playing in the occupied West Bank. The five-hour general assembly meeting of the soccer federation was broadcast live and has been archived on YouTube.

Rajoub continued his onslaught. “You have punished countries like Nigeria and Kuwait because governments interfered in the operation of the local federations.”

The head of the Palestinian federation rejected the intimidation tactics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on May 8 demanded that Infantino remove the Palestinian proposal to ban settlement clubs from the agenda. “Here we have a situation in which the Israeli prime minister is interfering in the decision of this body.”

Infantino, unable on late notice to remove the Palestinian resolution that had been submitted two months earlier, made an end run. Having secured on May 9 a........

© Al Monitor