The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is accused of turning a blind eye towards an Israeli ban on Palestinian football players from Gaza who were supposed to compete with West Bank players for the Palestine Cup.
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Euro-Mediterranean Human Right Monitor said Wednesday that Israeli authorities banned 30 players from the Rafah Team in Gaza to play the final match of the Palestinian Cup against the Balata Youth Team in West Bank’s Nablus which is a violation of international law and of FIFA’s principles which say everyone has a “right to play.”
The organization also said that Israel prevents footballers from Gaza to travel to West Bank due to security issues but actually this is “merely a political cover for the Israeli collective punishment practice against the Gaza strip.”
“This blatant interference by the Israeli authorities that deny Palestinians the right to exercise their basic right to play football contradicts the values of FIFA, which has not acted against the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian athletes,” said Euro-Med.
“The decision to ban a football team from traveling proves that the repressive policy of the Israeli authorities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is not out of security concerns, rather it aims at suppressing and oppressing the Palestinians in any way possible," it added.
Palestinians organize a series of matches every year where teams from Gaza and West Bank play against each other until they reach the finals which is recognized by FIFA.
Euro-Med reported that Israel is actively restricting Palestinians athletes from taking part in any events. They are stopping bodybuilding and volleyball teams from taking part in international tournaments.