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The final straw: The real reason why Palestine wants Israel out of FIFA

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As the Asian qualifying tournament for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup kicked off in Doha in late March, onlookers couldn’t help but wonder, was one of the flags missing? Above the tribune facing the VIP stands were the flapping ensigns with the colors of every participating nation, but between the Kuwaiti and Chinese flags there was a wide gap. It was as if a flag was supposed to be there but wasn’t. This indeed turned out to be the case, as Palestine’s national team did in fact qualify for the tournament, but never made it to Qatar. Although slim, any chances of Palestine qualifying for the Beach Soccer World Cup later this year in Espinho, Portugal were all but dashed.

Only days before the tournament, the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) contacted the Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSW), the governing body of beach soccer which falls under FIFA’s umbrella, and released a press release which read: “The Palestinian Football Association officially communicated to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Beach Soccer Worldwide that the team will not be able to take part in the competition, due to administrative issues outside the event.”

The missing Palestinian flag at the Beach Soccer Asian Qualifiers in Doha. (Photo: Raio Costa)

The missing Palestinian flag at the Beach Soccer Asian Qualifiers in Doha. (Photo: Raio Costa)

Scratch beneath the surface though, and you will understand that “administrative issues” are the least of the PFA’s problems. In the run-up to the AFC Asian Cup, Palestine jumped 71 spots and reach their highest-ever FIFA ranking, 94th in the world and for a brief stint were in the Asian top ten. Despite losing all their matches, going to Australia in January of this year for the Asian Cup was Palestine’s first ever major tournament since being recognized by FIFA in 1998. Although not a fully recognized state by the United Nations, under FIFA, Palestine is officially and independent country.

Like every other member, Palestine gets funding from FIFA. They also get the bonuses FIFA dishes out, like the Christmas bonus given to all member federations – its sum: $1.3 million.

But not all the players from the Palestinian squad were given the joy of listening to their national anthem play across speakers in Newcastle, Canberra, and Melbourne earlier this year. Australia-based Palestine player Nasr Awad, who was able to play in the tournament, told ABC Australia that “there’s a lot of players that are missing. They’re from the Gaza Strip. They’re good players and they couldn’t come to Australia because they’re in the Gaza Strip.” But most of the team made the 12,000-kilometer trip, why was it so hard to go to Qatar?

Raed Amro, who works with the PFA’s communications and information department, told Mondoweiss that “the Israeli authorities rebuked our request to cross the border. They answered us by refusing to grant any of the players the administrative and technical exit visas to go from Gaza to the West Bank and finally to Jordan, from where we would depart to Doha. Since the Rafah border crossing is closed there was no other means of exiting Gaza. We have reported this incident to FIFA and the AFC but they did not resolve the matter.”

“With sports – especially football – emerging in Palestine, the racist Zionist occupation spares no effort killing and besieging Palestinian sports,” he added.

Attacks on Palestinian Football

Unlike 11-a-side football, whose players play in the West Bank, Gaza, and even abroad, Palestine’s beach soccer team is based in one place – the only sandy coastal area in what is left of Palestine: the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian football league is even broken in two: the West Bank Premier League and the Gaza Strip League. To frequently cross via Israel could cost an arm and a leg – literally.

First, there was the case of Mahmoud Sarsak. Twenty-two at the time, Sarsak was arrested at the Erez Crossing after traveling between the West Bank and Gaza to join his new club. He was accused of being a combatant linked to the Islamic Jihad and spent three years in prison. In 2012, he went on hunger strike after Zakaria Issa, a former Palestine international who was also incarcerated, died shortly after being released. Sarsak admitted that he had been subjected to both physical and mental torture on a regular basis.

In 2014, at another checkpoint, teenagers Jawhar Nasser Jawhar and Adam Abdelraouf Halabiya were stopped by Israeli patrolmen and shot in the legs repeatedly. Both players will never play football again.

David Zirin, sportswriter for The Nation, reported on the previous two cases and also documented the killing of Ahed Zaqqout, a former Palestinian footballer turned sportscaster and TV host. It was the killing of Zaqqout that led the writer to ask whether Israel killed him deliberately or whether he was part the vast civilian collateral damage that comes with every Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. In an article dedicated to the fallen footballer titled His Name Was Ahed Zaqout: Former Palestinian Soccer Star Killed in Gaza, Zirin wrote: “Attacking soccer is about attacking these very national aspirations. It’s the inhumane act targeting a collective expression of humanity.”

Nothing, however, hits closer to home than the story of the Bakr cousins. All aged between 9 and 11, the four boys were playing football on a beach when an Israeli naval ship mistook them for fleeing fighters and fired shells at the beach. The boys died instantly not knowing what hit them. Palestine’s beach soccer team, who the Bakr boys must have at least caught a glimpse of once in the Gaza Strip’s mere 11km spit of coast, had their dreams taken away from them, but Ismail, Ahed, Zakariya, and Mohammad had the lives they wished to realize their dreams taken away. Rich Wiles, a Gaza-based writer and an award-winning photographer and filmmaker, believes that “stories are endless…a book could, or maybe should, be written about the almost impossible development of Palestinian football.”

Racism in Israeli Football

The Israeli war on Palestinian football is ethereal. Whether it’s a raid on the PFA headquarters in Ramallah or a bomb raid on Gaza, football is always targeted. It’s not only in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In 2004, the only Palestinian club in the Israeli Premier League, Bnei Sakhnin, won the Israeli Cup. Only two years later, Abbas Suan, an Arab-Israeli player from Bnei Sakhnin almost booked Israel a place at the FIFA World Cup in Germany with a late equalizer against the Republic of Ireland. When he returned for a league game with Bnei Sakhnin against Beitar Jerusalem a few weeks after international duty for Israel, he was met with a banner that read “Suan, you don’t represent us” from Beitar fans. Rumours had it Beitar’s president tried to sign him after his heroics for Israel, but Beitar fans would not allow their unique tradition of being the only Israeli club to never sign an Arab player to be broken.

Beitar once tried to sidestep their racist practice when former club president Alexandre Gaydamak signed two Chechen Muslim players. The pair, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev, were not welcomed by Beitar’s hard-core supporters group, La Familia. Then Beitar club manager Eli Cohen, tried to quell resentment from his fans by telling them “there’s a difference … between a European Muslim and an Arab Muslim.” Still, when Sadayev scored his first goal for the club against Maccabi Netanya in 2013, hundreds of La Familia fans walked out of the stadium. The two players played less than a combined total of 15 games for the club and had to be accompanied by bodyguards during their time in Jerusalem.

In more recent times, Beitar’s current coach said that he won’t sign an Arab player out of respect for La Familia. Speaking to an Israeli radio station, Guy Levi said: “I don’t think it’s the right time. It would cause tensions and create much greater damage.” Even it when it came to Palestinian citizens of Israel, like the now retired Abbas Suan, Levi claimed that “even if there were a player who fits in professionally, I would not bring him in, because it would create unnecessary tensions.”

Let us not forget, six Israeli men who were arrested last year for abducting and lynching Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem were all members of La Familia.

Next Steps with FIFA

Even though beach soccer is nowhere near as important or popular as association football, barring an entire team from participating in a tournament was the final straw for the PFA. Its President, Jibril Rajoub, who has voiced for Israel to be removed from FIFA many times in the past, reiterated his appeals as the beach soccer tournament in Doha came to a close. A week later, FIFA’s longtime president Sepp Blatter, fully aware of Rajoub’s threats to file a complaint against Israel, met with the PFA president in Cairo on the sidelines of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress in Cairo.

Following their meeting, FIFA’s official website published a 130-word article that said “the FIFA President recalled that his objective is to find solutions for the benefit of football development in Palestine and that football should connect, not divide.” Articles that picked up FIFA’s official statement were a bit more direct, with one non-Israeli website headlining the story Blatter Rejects Palestine FA Call to Ban Israel.

Despite Blatter’s diplomatic pacification of the PFA’s request, the PFA will still submit its complaint at the FIFA Congress in May, with Raed Amro telling Mondoweiss, “we expect that in the FIFA Congress in May all members assume their legal, moral, and humanitarian responsibilities towards accountability and punish Israel for its crimes.” Still, many pundits suggest that even if Rajoub and the PFA defy Blatter, there will be little chance the request will be approved. With FIFA Executive Committee members needing a majority of 66% to pass such a resolution, the PFA are trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

FIFA is infamously defamed by the Western media on a weekly if not daily basis for a spectrum of different reasons. But if there’s a way FIFA can change its shattered image with one move, it would be by allowing Palestinian footballers the same rights as footballers other footballers around the world and apply pressure on the Israeli FA. Amro, who believes that FIFA are the only ones who can change the footballing climate in Palestine, but also had a message for his Israeli counterparts, saying “we also expect the obligation of the Israeli federation to recognize the entity and national sporting integrity of an independent Palestine and end its restrictions and practices of arbitrary right.”

“We assure you that the occupation and its practices of war against Palestinian sports and Palestinian athletes does not stop us, not for a single day,” he added.

Recently, Palestine were drawn with Saudi Arabia, East Timor, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates in the qualifying rounds for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Their first away match will be away to Malaysia two weeks after the PFA claim to file an official complaint against Israel at the FIFA Congress on May 29. In the coming months football fans around the world will see whether Palestine will be forbidden from attempting to qualify for another World Cup, a slightly more important one.

Raio Costa

Raio Costa is a Brazilian journalist who writes primarily on football and politics.

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28 Responses

  1. echinococcus on May 21, 2015, 2:00 pm

    All aged between 9 and 11, the four boys were playing football on a beach when an Israeli naval ship mistook them for fleeing fighters and fired shells at the beach. The boys died instantly not knowing what hit them.

    The uninformed good intentions of the author are not to be doubted but lending any credence to the Zionist murderers’ “mistake” assists their propaganda. And, of course, makes the reader feel like he’s been treated like a drooling moron. Please inform the author.

    • ritzl on May 21, 2015, 3:46 pm

      Agree. Great, comprehensive article otherwise.

    • Vacy on May 21, 2015, 7:58 pm

      Agree strongly- ‘mistook’ ??? by Israel’s precision surveillance and bombing? No way.

    • Kay24 on May 22, 2015, 12:28 pm

      That was not a “mistake”, and Israel is notorious for making convenient “mistakes”.

      There were plenty of journalists nearby and no one ever referred to the massacre as a “mistake”. This was done deliberately in true zionist fashion.

    • lonely rico on May 22, 2015, 7:32 pm

      Israeli naval ship mistook them for fleeing fighters

      Uh ? Sure.

      Those 4 ½ feet tall Hamas terrorists, threatening the only democratic state in the Middle East.
      Those little buggers can slip under the barb wire, you can’t hardly see ‘em. They can run upright through those tunnels, don’t even have to bend over, an existential threat to the Zionist state.

      The courageous IDF sailors weep the
      shredded children,
      human shields used by crazed Palestinians,
      who only wish to make the Israelis look and feel bad.

      Apparently, the soccer ball was provided
      by Palestinians !

    • RockyMissouri on May 28, 2015, 1:47 pm

      They knew. Those boys were running for their lives.

  2. a blah chick on May 21, 2015, 7:14 pm

    “But if there’s a way FIFA can change its shattered image with one move, it would be by allowing Palestinian footballers the same rights as footballers other footballers around the world and apply pressure on the Israeli FA.”

    If FIFA acts against Israel it will be treated as yet another incident in the “rise of the new anti-Semitism.” They will be excoriated by the elite media for daring to take the side of Palestinians, the most unworthy of victims. Our representatives in the congress and senate will be fighting for the mics to denounce this travesty of sportsmanship. I’m pretty sure some legislation will follow, maybe all the teams in the MLS league will have to salute an Israeli flag before taking the field.

    It would be ugly but don’t worry, FIFA doesn’t have the balls for this kind of a fight.

    • David Doppler on May 22, 2015, 4:20 pm

      Let’s not hold our breath for FIFA to take a righteous stand on principle. They’re not made of such stuff.

      But if they were to take a stand, it could have a serious effect on the moral balance inside and outside the Middle East. After analyzing what was in the hearts of his white South African captors, Mandela realized it was rugby, that other, other football, and the Springboks, the SA national team, and so he led their movement to boycott South Africa from international rugby. The international shame among sports fans of national teams adds a dimension lacking from academic groups and liberals in journalism or elsewhere that should not be underestimated. And a dimension to the impact of the boycott effort on the overall community, in Tel Aviv and elsewhere.

      The power of denial, the power to self-delude that one is the righteous good guy belonging to a good and exceptional society, and to dismiss inconsistent evidence, must be overcome with a multi-dimensional strategy, and soccer is definitely a different dimension to the effort. Netanyahu swore in his new righter-wing government last week, but it is historically weak and subject to extortion by everyone of its members, so it might not last very long. Shame and deprivation on the soccer fan front could turn a number of votes if a quick re-election were to spring up.

      So I think it is a good tactic.

      • RoHa on May 22, 2015, 11:11 pm

        The cricket boycott was, I think, just as important as the rugby boycott.

  3. JLewisDickerson on May 21, 2015, 9:27 pm

    RE: “Beitar once tried to sidestep their racist practice when former club president Alexandre Gaydamak signed two Chechen Muslim players.” ~ Raio Costa

    SEE – “Suspicion and Hate: Racist Attacks On Arabs Increase in Israel”, By Julia Amalia Heyer, Spiegel Online, 6/05/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Football fan Asi, 23, says that he isn’t a racist, just a nationalist. “I have no problem with Arabs, as long as they raise the Israeli flag and sing along when our national anthem is played.” Lieberman used the same logic to justify a bill he introduced calling for new citizens to deliver an oath of allegiance.
    Asi, who lives in a small village near Caesarea [a town in Israel located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa], supports the Beitar Jerusalem football club. On a Thursday evening, he and other Beitar fans are standing at an intersection in Herzliya. Asi has a friendly face and a neatly trimmed beard. Like his fellow fans, he is here to demonstrate against the club’s owner.
    When it was revealed in January that the Club planned to sign two Muslim Chechen players, the stands in the stadium became filled with hateful signs, with words like “Beitar — Pure Forever.” The fans chanted: “We are chosen, we are holy, but the Arabs are not.”
    Beitar Jerusalem, says Asi, that’s the holy menorah on a yellow background. The team, he says, can only win as a Jewish team, which is why Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to play in the club.
    Beitar’s management has since cancelled the contracts with the Chechens and sent the two men back home. There were simply too many problems [most especially, Israeli racism – J.L.D.], the club wrote in a statement.


    • JLewisDickerson on May 21, 2015, 11:07 pm

      P.S. RE: In more recent times, Beitar’s current coach said that he won’t sign an Arab player out of respect for La Familia. Speaking to an Israeli radio station, Guy Levi said: “I don’t think it’s the right time. It would cause tensions and create much greater damage.” – Raio Costa

      MY INCREDULOUSNESS: Beitar’s coach has “respect” for La Familia? That’s really sick!*

      * FROM WIKIPEDIA AS OF 1/25/14 [La Familia (Beitar supporters’ group)]:

      La Familia are an Association football supporters’ group of Israeli Premier League club Beitar Jerusalem.[1] They are known for their opposition to Arab and Muslim players.

      • Organization
      The organization began in 2005 and occupy the eastern sections of Teddy Stadium. Estimates of the group’s numbers vary. A reporter put the number at a few hundred[2] while a leader of the group said that it encompassed a network of 3,000 supporters.[3] At a home match in 2008, a correspondent for the BBC said that the group was about 20% of the crowd. They are the most vocal in the stadium and some local fans follow their chants.[2][3]
      La Familia is proud of its Jewish identity. The group is notorious for chants that insult Arab and black players, and for displaying the flag of the banned Kach party.[2] Cheers with lines such as “death to the Arabs”[4] and “Muhammad is a homosexual”[5] are common. Unlike other top clubs in the country, no Arabs have ever played for Beitar. La Familia has continuously raised strong objections to any Arab transfers.[6] The group was adamantly against the signing of Nigerian Muslim (who lasted half a season in 2005) and the 2013 transfer of two Chechnyan Muslims.[7]
      The team has roots in the Betar Zionist youth movement and has been supported by several Israeli politicians on the political right throughout its history. La Familia has similarly been labeled far-right and is openly against those they view as being on the left.[4][8] The club has publicly condemned the group and has gone as far as barring it from a match.[7] Some Beitar fans have expressed embarrassment over the organization and openly oppose their ideals.[9][7]

      • Incidents
      During a December 2007 Toto Cup semifinal game between Beitar Jerusalem and the Israeli-Arab team Bnei Sakhnin, Beitar Jerusalem fans took up provocative chants that insulted Muhammed. The Israel Football Association (IFA) punished Beitar by forcing them to play their next game against Sakhnin with no fans present. Vandals set fire to the IFA’s offices and left graffiti threatening the life of the IFA chairman. The graffiti included the initials “LF” for La Familia, but the group denied involvement.[10][11]
      Beitar was disciplined in 2008 after fans disrupted a minute of silence to mark the death of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Later that year La Familia led a pitch invasion in what would have been a title-clinching win against Bnei Herziliya. The IFA deducted two points from Beitar and ordered that the next game be played behind closed doors.[12] In December 2011, fans yelled “Give Toto a banana”[2] towards Nigerian-born Toto Tamuz. The IFA again punished Beitar with a two-point deduction and another game in an empty stadium.
      Supporters stormed the Malha Mall after a match in March 2012 while chanting racist slurs. It was reported that Arab workers were harassed and beaten.[6]
      The club’s 2013 signing of two Chechnyan Muslims, Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev, raised anger from the supporters. Members of La Familia set a team office blaze after the announcement.[7] Fans walked out of a match in March that saw Sadayev score his fist goal for Beitar.[13]

      SOURCE –

    • RockyMissouri on May 28, 2015, 2:01 pm

      Deja vu ……all over again. Are we unable to learn from our previous experiences..??

      We must surely be stupid.

  4. Froggy on May 22, 2015, 7:40 am

    This is a disgrace.

    These Beitar fans make the level of sectarian bigotry and violence between the Protestant Glasgow Rangers fans and the Catholic Glasgow Celtic fans look like child’s play.

    If anything good comes out of this it will be that soccer fans worldwide, people who otherwise might not have paid attention to the goings on in Israel and the Occupied Territories, will find out what is going on with the Israelis.

  5. Eva Smagacz on May 23, 2015, 7:57 am

    And of course 5 million Palestinian lingering in refugee camps cannot represent Palestine as they also have no right to travel and no chance in hell of returning g to their villages that Israel is deliberately turned to ruin and now grows water thirsty European trees to try and camouflage their ethnic cleansing.

  6. NickJOCW on May 23, 2015, 9:49 am

    It is probably not in Blatter’s remit to become embroiled in issues with roots outside the closed area of FIFA, particularly with issues not specifically covered by its regulations. Putting the submission to the Congress itself is another matter and probably as much potential leverage on the situation as possible at this stage. I imagine one Israeli nightmare is they might be drawn to play against their Gaza prisoners.

  7. Hostage on May 24, 2015, 9:35 pm

    Although not a fully recognized state by the United Nations, under FIFA, Palestine is officially and independent country.

    There is a difference between representation and recognition in the United Nations. See S/1466, 9 March 1950, Letter Dated 8 March 1950 From the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council Concerning “Legal Aspects of Problems of Representation in the United Nations”

    There really is no such thing as a state “recognized” by the United Nations. The independent Diplomatic Conferences of Plenipotentiary States that author and adopt the text of UN treaties have included provisions that require the Secretary General to accept signatures, accessions, and ratifications from any members of a list of specific international organizations of a truly universal nature that have a treaty relationship with the UN. A sufficient number of those plenipotentiary states have subsequently become parties to those conventions and they have “entered into force”. So a simple majority vote from one of those other organizations (where no superpower veto is allowed) means that a country is automatically a non-member state for the purposes of Article 2(6) of the the UN Charter: “The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.” The Security Council can still vote against membership on other Charter grounds not related to statehood, like ability to pay dues, or the country’s qualifications as a “peace-loving” State.

  8. oldgeezer on May 27, 2015, 1:04 am

    Not soccer but what goes around comes around.

    Israel is a disgrace. A blight unto mankind.

    • justicewillprevail on May 27, 2015, 6:25 am

      Thanks, og. You have to laugh at their ‘outrage’.

      “The Israelis were held for eight hours at the airport in a room without food, water or chairs, with local officials claiming that there was a problem with their visas.

      “As an Israeli, I’m embarrassed to have had to wait eight hours at the airport and embarrassed to hear the boos towards my teammates. And all of this because we are Israelis.

      We came to participate in a sporting competition without any politics. This is a disgrace for Morocco and the organizers. I hope no Israeli, or anyone else for that matter, ever experiences something like this.”

      Really, are they so utterly unaware of what their country does on a regular basis to Palestinians, their families, friends and anyone who wants to visit them? The poor dears, getting a microscopic taste of what they do to others. Unless of course, they are now prepared to speak out against the equivalent and far worse treatment at Ben Gurion. I am not holding my breath, though.

      • RockyMissouri on May 28, 2015, 2:06 pm

        Marvelous. The world knows the truth.

  9. bryan on May 27, 2015, 5:04 am

    Hopefully the whole House of Cards which is FIFA is about to explode, in a huge scandal involving money-laundering, racketeering, bribery, fraud, corruption, tax-evasion, match-fixing etc. etc. See

    Anyone who appreciates “soccer” (aka football) or just enjoys a good laugh may like this (

  10. justicewillprevail on May 27, 2015, 7:07 am

    Moon of Alabama has an interesting spin on the FIFA raid today and its timing. How very convenient for the Palestine vote against Israel on Friday..

  11. eljay on May 27, 2015, 8:08 am

    || oldgeezer: Not soccer but what goes around comes around.

    link to … ||

    The unhappy stay began immediately with the delegation’s arrival. The Israelis were held for eight hours at the airport in a room without food, water or chairs, with local officials claiming that there was a problem with their visas.

    The athletes and coaching staff were ultimately afforded entry into the country following pressure by the International Judo Federation, but when they arrived at the competition’s venue they discovered that the Israeli flag was missing alongside the flags of the rest of the countries.

    If any of these actions were undertaken intentionally, I condemn them. Israel’s disgraceful behaviour does not justify disgraceful behaviour by Moroccan officials.

    “What happened in Morocco was a disgrace,” said Israel’s former world champion Yarden Gerbi, who finished the under-63 kilogram competition in fifth place on Saturday.

    “As an Israeli, I’m embarrassed to have had to wait eight hours at the airport … And all of this because we are Israelis.

    I wonder if Ms. Gerbi cares about – or ever even thinks about – how Palestinians (citizens, refugees, individuals living under occupation and visitors) must feel who are treated at least as disgracefully by her own government.

    • RockyMissouri on May 28, 2015, 2:13 pm

      One elderly lady died while waiting for a gate to be opened .. They don’t give a thought about Palestinians. They could care less about their discomfort, when they don’t even regard them as human beings.

  12. amigo on May 27, 2015, 8:09 am

    don,t suppose any of these guys could have been bribed by Israel to prevent their team from being kicked out of FIFA.

    Nah , forgive me Israel for harbouring such negative thoughts about the light unto the nations. Will Sepp Blatter be found to have been involved.Will a new cleaned up board take a different approach to the Palestinian teams brutal treatment by Israel.

    “Nine high-ranking soccer officials, including two current vice-presidents of world governing body Fifa, and five sports marketing executives have been indicted on federal corruption charges, US law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.”

    • bintbiba on May 27, 2015, 8:14 am

      Same thought came to me as I heard the news on LBC. Begone, ye”negative thoughts”. ;-)

      “Nah , forgive me Israel for harbouring such negative thoughts about the light unto the nations. Will Sepp Blatter be found to have been involved.Will a new cleaned up board take a different approach to the Palestinian teams brutal treatment by Israel.”

      – See more at:

  13. NickJOCW on May 28, 2015, 8:31 am

    It’s interesting to speculate the effect a new FIFA president might have on this issue, particularly if it is the Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein. Apparently there was some mention of this on CNN although I haven’t been able to locate it. There is also another factor coming in from a flank; whether FIFA should insist on certain human rights standards before awarding venues. The primary current concern here is for Qatar’s vast workforce constructing the 22 venue, but once ‘Human Rights’ becomes and issue it has a tendency take root and spread.

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