The Emergency Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, composed of chairman Shk. Salman Bin Ebrahima Al Khalifa (Bahrain), deputy chairman Juan Ángel Napout (Paraguay) and Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), has decided that Palestine’s upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, scheduled to take place in Palestine, both need to be played on neutral ground.
The decision followed a meeting held in Palestine yesterday between FIFA’s security officer and local authorities, after which the Palestinian government confirmed that it could no longer guarantee the safety and security around the matches in question.
In view of this, the Emergency Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers has confirmed that the security guarantees cannot be compromised and that both matches need to be played on neutral ground.
The Palestine-Saudi Arabia match, which was originally scheduled for 5 November 2015, will now be played on 9 November, while the Palestine-Malaysia match will still be played, as planned, on 12 November.
FIFA has asked the Palestinian Football Association to provide details on the neutral ground in Asia that will host both matches.