In order to show its strong commitment to the development of football as a unifying tool in the region, FIFA will cover the costs of the rehabilitation of the football pitch of the Palestine Stadium in Gaza after it was damaged in a recent bombardment.

"In the world of today, which is disrupted by long-lasting disputes and violence, football is one of the very few universal tools mankind can use to bridge gaps between nations and peoples, and to symbolise what unites our planet over what divides it. FIFA's role is not to reprimand, but to help create bonds and ensure that the young people of the region have hope and the possibility to enjoy the school of life that football represents. Therefore, I call on the relevant authorities to do everything they can to allow Palestinian and Israeli football to develop," commented the FIFA President.

FIFA, a non-political organisation, has as one of its main objectives the promotion of friendly relations between its members and in society for humanitarian objectives, as stated in the FIFA Statutes. The defence of the right of both Israeli and Palestinian football to develop has been unequivocal on the part of FIFA in the past and will remain so in the future.

In 2003, FIFA adopted a very strong stance to ensure that Israeli football could develop and play international matches at home. Whereas in some competitions Israeli clubs and the national team were not allowed to play at home because of a series of terrorist atrocities, FIFA made sure that Tel Aviv was able to host qualifying matches of the Israeli national team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™.

Similarly, FIFA has defended the right of Palestinian football to grow, play internationally, enjoy good infrastructure and organise unified competitions between the West Bank and Gaza.

To implement this philosophy, FIFA has awarded Goal projects to the Israeli FA in order to lay a new pitch in Nazareth, and to the Palestinian FA so as to construct headquarters in Bayt Lahya and to finance the installation of three artificial turf pitches in Gaza, Ram and Ramalla.