Football Associations of Israel and Palestine to sign historical memorandum of understanding
© Foto-net

The FIFA Task Force Israel-Palestine, comprising representatives from FIFA, the Israel Football Association (IFA) and the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) as well as the respective confederations of both associations, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the European Football Confederation (UEFA), held its first meeting today at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, under the chairmanship of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

The Task Force analysed different bilateral matters including facilitating the movement of players, coaches, referees, officials and equipment in and out of and within Palestine. Several proposals were made including:
- applications for entry permits, as well as for the import of sports equipment, to be sent to the Israeli authorities within a given deadline (number of days to be determined), with a copy of these applications to be sent to the Israel Football Association.
- a liaison officer to be appointed in each association, the IFA and the PFA, to handle these matters, with FIFA monitoring this process.

FIFA confirmed that it will act as the intermediary body between the PFA and the IFA in any future challenges facing Palestinian football, in close cooperation with the AFC and UEFA.

Furthermore, it was decided that the IFA and the PFA will meet to agree on a memorandum of understanding between both associations to facilitate the movement of persons and goods for football purposes in and out of and within Palestine. This meeting will be staged in Jordan. A first report will be presented to the FIFA Executive Committee at its next meeting (3-4 October 2013), with the process to be completed by the end of this year.

"
The fact that both parties, from Israel and Palestine, agreed to participate in such a Task Force was already a sign of goodwill," said President Blatter. "This stance was confirmed today. I’m very happy that this meeting could lead to a concrete proposal aimed at enhancing the development of football in Palestine in accordance with the FIFA Statutes. Furthermore, it is my and FIFA’s hope that football will contribute to connecting people from both countries."

The establishment of the Task Force, created with the goal of improving the situation of football in Palestine, was announced by the FIFA President in early July, following the mandate he received during the 63rd FIFA Congress and his subsequent trip to the Middle East.

Participants in today’s meeting included:
FIFA:
Joseph S. BLATTER – FIFA President
Jérôme VALCKE – FIFA Secretary General
Thierry REGENASS – FIFA Director of Member Associations & Development

UEFA:
Michel PLATINI – UEFA President
Theodore THEODORIDIS – UEFA Director of Member Associations

AFC:
H.E. Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim AL KHALIFA – AFC President
H.R.H. Prince Ali BIN AL HUSSEIN – FIFA Vice-President; President of the Jordan Football Association (JFA)

PFA:
Jibril AL RAJOUB – PFA President 
Susan R. SHALABI MOLANO – PFA International Department Director
Mona DABDOOB – PFA International Department

IFA:
Avi LUZON – IFA President
Rotem KAMER – IFA General Secretary