Quarterly Updates for (16 Aug 2017 — 15 Nov 2017)

International soccer’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), delivered its final ruling on the Palestinian attempt to get Israel suspended from international competition this quarter. For years, the Palestinians had pushed for FIFA to enforce its own rules that bar one national association from holding matches on the territory of another without permission, citing the presence of 6 Israel Football Association (IFA)-sanctioned teams in Israel’s West Bank settlements. On 10/27, however, the FIFA Council decided that any “interference” might “aggravate” the situation. “Given that the final status of the West Bank territories is the concern of the competent international public law authorities, the FIFA Council agrees that FIFA, in line with the general principle established in its Statutes, must remain neutral with regard to political matters,” the Council ruled, according to a 10/27 statement.

At the same time, the Council decided (10/27) that its monitoring comm., which was established as a compromise measure in 2015 (see JPS 45 [1]), would continue working to “facilitate the movement of players, officials, and football equipment in, out of, and within Palestine.”

IFA pres. Ofer Eini, who orchestrated the Israeli efforts to undermine the Palestinian campaign, celebrated (10/27) the decision as a “significant achievement.” The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) criticized the decision, but had already escalated the dispute to the relevant international court. After FIFA yielded to Israeli pressure and removed a debate on the Palestinian complaints from the FIFA Congress’s agenda in 5/2017 (see JPS 46 [4]), the PFA filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). On 11/6, the CAS announced that its panel would hear the case on 11/27, and a final ruling was expected in early 12/2017.