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Sepp Blatter, FIFA & Israel

Sepp Blatter & Ofer Eini

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was in Jerusalem yesterday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Football Association President Ofer Eini to discuss the upcoming FIFA Congress where a vote will be held to expel Israel from FIFA. The proposal was put on the agenda by the PFA in order to pressure the government of Israel to lighten restrictions on PFA footballers. Following the meeting a press conference was held where Blatter made a statement and took questions from the media present.

What did we learn from the press conference? Unfortunately not much. 

Blatter said Netanyahu made a proposal that he will deliver to the PFA head Jibril Rajoub and PA Presidnet Mahmoud Abbas on the alleged conditions that Israel puts on PA footballers. He did not reveal the content of the proposal before delivering it to the PFA, but did say that Netanyahu wanted to hold a football match of peace between Israel & the PA.

Sepp Blatter & Ofer Eini

Sepp Blatter & Ofer Eini

At the end of the day, we all know that the PFA will turn down the offer to play a peace match and that most probably the expulsion vote will not be removed from the agenda. 

By using the FIFA Congress for this matter instead of working on the issues internally, the PFA is abusing its power by using football and FIFA for political maneuvering. This is something Blatter doesn’t like this one bit.

Blatter certainly wants the vote off the agenda as much as Israel does since this is a massive slap in the face to the FIFA boss and his standing as President. He kept saying over and over again that he is here in a mission of peace and wants to use football for peaceful purposes and clearly stated that the FIFA Congress was not the forum for such a move. However, the PFA is going to try and pull out all stops to not only make a footballing political point but wants to further isolate Israel amongst the world’s nations.

Unfortunately for Blatter he doesn’t have the power to remove the item from the agenda but he is surely going to try and manipulate both Israel and the PA to try and rid it from the day’s activities. Even though the chances of Israel being expelled are minute as 75% of the 209 nations need to vote in favor of removing a country, some may abstain and others by voting to rid FIFA of Israel will in effect weaken Blatter’s standing amongst the countries. 

Certainly that’s not what Blatter wants to happen to Israel and himself. He has too much to lose and too much power which may seem to be breaking down.