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FIFA President Blatter concludes visit to Israeli and Palestinian authorities

FIFA President Blatter concluded a two-day visit to Israeli and Palestinian authorities on Wednesday in Ramallah, following meetings with the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as well as the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) Jibril Al Rajoub.

“I had constructive meetings with the Palestine political and football authorities," said FIFA President Blatter. "We all agree football should unite not divide. I came on a mission for peace – football should foster peace and leave politics aside. Based on my talks over the last two days, I remain confident, despite the challenging situation, that we should be able to find a solution in the interests of football and all parties involved ahead of the Congress."

On Tuesday, the FIFA President met Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the President of the Israel Football Association (IFA) Ofer Eini, in a bid to find a solution to the request by the PFA to suspend the IFA. In this regard, the Israeli authorities made some encouraging proposals to reach a consensus.

“We discussed how we can tackle the issue of the mobility of Palestinian players and football officials," said FIFA President Blatter. "We will work together with the Israeli authorities on concrete solutions that should aim at the creation of a special football  ID and a tax exemption on football donations for the benefit of football development in the region. We’ll promote a regular exchange between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities through a working group with the participation of FIFA that should meet on a monthly basis. As FIFA President, I do not see that a suspension of an association is a solution."

During his stay, the FIFA President, who was accompanied by FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, also unveiled a FIFA Goal project in the village of Dora Al-Karee and visited the football club of the refugee camp Al-Jalazon, as well as held a separate meeting with players of Palestine’s national football team.

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