PA: PMW caused PA leader Rajoub's suspension from FIFA
- PA condemns FIFA for suspending Jibril Rajoub, "based on the claims of an Israeli organization... Palestinian Media Watch"
By Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch, Adv.
The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has condemned the international football association FIFA for suspending its chairman Jibril Rajoub, "based on the claims of an Israeli organization... Palestinian Media Watch," reports WAFA, the official PA news agency. [WAFA, Aug. 24, 2018]
According to the PFA, PMW's complaint should not have been accepted because PMW is "not a neutral side," given that PMW is involved in an "unresolved dispute with the Palestinian Football Association." This apparently is a reference to PMW's two earlier complaints against the PFA and Jibril Rajoub, about which FIFA has not yet ruled.
In March 2017, PMW submitted a detailed complaint to FIFA against Rajoub and the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), providing evidence that Rajoub was in breach, among others, of Article 53 of FIFA's Disciplinary Code. In May 2017, PMW submitted a second complaint after the PFA held its annual competition named after "Abu Jihad," who the PA credits with murdering 125 Israelis.
Rajoub was suspended now following his recent calls for violence against the Argentinian football team. In May this year, Rajoub called to burn shirts and pictures of Argentinian star Lionel Messi after the Argentinian football team scheduled a friendly match with the Israeli national football team in Israel.
Following Rajoub's statements PMW immediately submitted a third complaint against Rajoub. After the Argentinian team canceled the match in Israel, the Israel Football Association likewise submitted a complaint to FIFA.
FIFA's statement announcing the sanctions against Rajoub said:
"The Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, with a 12-month match suspension and a fine of CHF 20,000 for breaching article 53 (Inciting hatred and violence) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, following media statements he gave calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi."
The following is a longer segment of the Palestinian Football Association's statement condemning FIFA for accepting PMW evidence against Rajoub:
"From the first moment that the FIFA Disciplinary Committee launched a series of proceedings on May 29, 2018, at the request of the Israel Football Association and one of the Israeli extremist right-wing organizations [PMW], it was clear to us that there is a deliberate intent to ban Palestinian Football Association Chairman Jibril Rajoub from being involved in football - something that apparently will not end with this decision, which we find very strange and whose timing we condemn...
The Disciplinary Committee decision was based on the claims of an Israeli organization of settlers on the occupied lands (PMW's office is in west Jerusalem -Ed.), who call themselves Palestinian Media Watch (Palestine Media Watch) [English name repeats in parentheses in source].
These claims are connected to statements that were attributed to Jibril Rajoub on a Lebanese TV station in 2013 (Reference to Rajoub on Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV that was one of many sources in PMW's first complaint against Rajoub; see note below- Ed).
Regarding the apparent threat to Argentinian player Lionel Messi, we wonder how legal it is that a third party [PMW/IFA] - which is not a neutral side and which is in an unresolved dispute with the Palestinian [Football] Association before FIFA (i.e., FIFA has not yet ruled on PMW's first complaint against Rajoub and the PFA) - would submit a complaint on behalf of Messi, which is something that neither he nor the Argentinian [Football] Association has done...
We are surprised by the speed with which FIFA rushed to convict the chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, relying on media reports of non-neutral parties, and this is as opposed to its slowness and hesitation on everything that is connected to ensuring the right of the children of Palestine to play on their lands and enabling the playing [of football] in the face of the occupation's actions.
While emphasizing that we respect the law, the FIFA regulations, and the decisions of the relevant committees, we reserve for ourselves the right to deal with the matter in the relevant legal circles."
[WAFA, official PA news agency, Aug. 24, 2018]
The reference to “statements that were attributed to Jibril Rajoub on a Lebanese media outlet in 2013” refer to Rajoub’s statement on Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV on April 30, 2013, which was in PMW’s first complaint against Rajoub to FIFA in 2017, and in which Rajoub said: “Listen. We as yet don't have a nuke, but I swear that if we had a nuke, we'd have used it this very morning.”