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FIFA president to meet Palestine football chief over bid to bar Israel

April 4, 2015 10:05 P.M. (Updated: April 5, 2015 3:21 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- The FIFA president is to meet the Palestinian football chief to discuss the latter's request that Israel be barred from international competition, the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) said Saturday.

A PFA statement said that FIFA's Sepp Blatter would meet Jibril Rajoub ahead of the world governing body's next congress in Cairo in late May, but did not give a date for the talks.

FIFA declined to comment when contacted by AFP on Saturday.

The Palestinians want Israel suspended because of their "racist behavior against Arabs", with the statement claiming that Blatter had recently contacted Rajoub and assured him that "serious discussions were under way for the Palestinian draft resolution to be submitted to a vote at the next congress in May."

The PFA also protested at the creation of "five clubs in settlements on land occupied since 1967, clubs participating in Israeli national championships in violation of international law."

The PFA last called for Israel's suspension in November after Israeli forces raided its headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It has also cried foul over Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian players.

To be passed the Palestinian resolution must win the support of at least 156 other delegates at the 209-member congress.

The Palestinians were upgraded from observer entity to a United Nations "observer state" in 2012, and although not yet universally recognized as a state, their national football team gained FIFA recognition in 1998.

A FIFA delegation visited the Gaza Strip in January and pledged $1 million to help rebuild stadiums there, many of which were damaged during the conflict between Israel and Hamas last July and August.
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