Palestine Football Association cancels meeting with FIFA president

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Photo: file)

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) on Tuesday announced the cancellation of a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

PFA President Jibril Rajoub, who was due to meet Infantino in Ramallah, decided to cancel the meeting due to the latter’s presence at an event with former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the “Museum of Tolerance “, built on the historic Islamic cemetery of Ma’manullah in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.

The PFA said in a press release that it “regrets the decision of FIFA President Gianni Infantino to participate in two events taking place today at the so-called” Museum of Tolerance “, a building constructed on the Islamic cemetery of Ma’manullah., the oldest Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem dating from the 11th century, “while noting that he sees his participation” as a total affront to the values ​​of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, both endorsed by the FIFA statutes ”.

In the statement, PFA explained that it received a letter from Infantino last Thursday, in which he expressed “his wish to visit both Palestine and Israel on Monday 11 and stated that he had been invited to speak. during certain events in Israel and hoped to meet with the political leaders of the two countries to discuss the problems which have long hampered the development of football in Palestine and to find possible solutions to the outstanding problems.

While PFA, as stated in the statement, viewed the letter in a very positive light and began preparations for the long-awaited visit, it simultaneously informed Infantino’s office of the importance of not taking part in any activity. organized by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory as defined by international law, including East Jerusalem.

“We have received confirmation that the president is well aware of our considerations,” the statement added.

During his visit to Palestine, Infantino was to hold meetings with the political level, the PFA executive committee and partners. He was also to lay the foundation stone for the PFA technical center and kick off the final match of the seven-a-side women’s league.

PFA President Rajoub wrote an urgent letter to the FIFA President urging him not to participate in the events as it would send a conflicting message with “his public messages regarding FIFA’s commitment to human rights. ‘man and values ​​of peaceful coexistence’.

In his letter, Rajoub warned Infantino that “this participation will be seen by many FIFA members as a politicization of football, which the FIFA president has categorically opposed” and “went further by saying that the participation of the FIFA President will be regarded as profanation. of the Holy Place and will not help bring people together, but rather separate them. “

“By deciding to ignore our concerns, and since we do not have the right to interfere with the agenda of a FIFA president, our only alternative was to send our regrets that we were unable to receive the delegation. FIFA in such circumstances, ”the statement said. added.

(WAFA, PC, Social networks)



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