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PLO Chief Negotiator condemns FIFA decision to suspend Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub

Headline: "Erekat condemns FIFA’s decision against Rajoub and calls on it to reexamine it"

"Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, [Fatah Central Committee member, and PLO Chief Negotiator] Saeb Erekat condemned the FIFA Disciplinary Committee decision against [Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association and Fatah Central Committee Secretary] Jibril Rajoub (FIFA suspended him for a year and fined him 20,000 Swiss francs for incitement; see note below –Ed.).
In a statement he published today (Saturday) [Aug. 25, 2018], Erekat called on FIFA to reexamine the decision, especially in light of the fact that they did not listen to testimony and did not examine the evidence that Rajoub's legal advisor requested [they examine].

He expressed sorrow that the claims and pressures that groups of settlers applied to FIFA succeeded, while the Palestinian bodies were struggling to rein in the policy of Israel – the occupying power – to politicize sport and abuse it in order to whitewash its illegal actions…

He said: 'We condemn Rajoub's sentence and wonder at it, at a time when six football teams that play in the Israeli league on the land of the occupied State of Palestine, which come from illegal colonial settlements, need to be sentenced. Likewise, all that the occupying authority does in a methodical and ongoing way must be judged: denying the natural and legal right of athletes from among our people to free movement, and especially their right to go to Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and abroad, their detention, placing obstacles in the way of bringing sport equipment through the crossings, and the rest of the violations by the occupying power against Palestinian sports.
Erekat emphasized that the Palestinian people and the Palestinian sports community are continuing to adhere to the principles of sport and its laws, and oppose the politicization of sports. He called on everyone to act like them."

Jibril Rajoub also holds the following positions: Head of the PLO Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, and Chairman of the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA).

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee decision on Aug. 24, 2018 that was mentioned in the article was to suspend Jibril Rajoub from attending games for 12 months, in addition to imposing a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs on him. The decision came in response to Rajoub’s actions to thwart a football friendly match between Argentina and Israel in Jerusalem on June 9, 2018, which eventually led to Argentina canceling the match. The decision cited Rajoub’s comments “calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of [Argentinian soccer player] Lionel Messi,” and called for punitive action against Rajoub given how he “incited hatred and violence.”