The FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine, under the chairmanship of Tokyo Sexwale with representatives from the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and the Israel Football Association (IFA) led by their respective presidents Jibril Rajoub and Ofer Eini and attended by the AFC observer Sanjeevan Balasingam (AFC Director of Member Associations), today held its second meeting in the Middle East, in Jericho.
After having suggested mechanisms with regards to the free movement of Palestinian people and goods connected with football at the first meeting in Tel Aviv, the committee today discussed the implementation of a detailed concept and a permanent support unit regarding this issue which will deal with permit applications in order to avoid delays. The concept was put together after an intense consultation process involving the relevant authorities.
The issue of the territories and the question of the five clubs that are affiliated to the Israel Football Association were also discussed intensively. It was agreed that these issues will require more time and broader discussions with the authorities in Israel and Palestine to identify solutions.
“Today’s meeting was another important step in the process leading to the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico in May. I remain confident because of the serious level of commitment of all the parties involved in this process. We are working towards a solution for all the issues and that’s what counts. We knew right from the beginning that this would not be an easy ride. Our challenge is broader than football and we will continue with our tireless efforts to ensure that we also have the full backing of the authorities as some of the crucial issues are of a political and security nature,” said chairman Sexwale.
“I am happy that we are continuing our constructive discussions and I very much appreciate the input of Ofer Eini and his team. I remain confident that we will build a new and consensual way to cooperate which positively affects Palestinian and Israeli societies and all people who love sport,” said Jibril Rajoub.
“We will continue with our dialogue and I very much believe in football as a bridge for peace. A football match between our two national teams would underline that peaceful coexistence between our people is possible,” said Ofer Eini.
Chairman Sexwale will report on the latest discussions to Acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou and Acting FIFA Secretary General Markus Kattner.
The FIFA Monitoring Committee was set up by the 65th FIFA Congress and the outcome of its intense mediation work will be reported to the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City in May.