FERW is amplifying the voices of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are urging FIFA and UEFA to take decisive action regarding Israel’s participation in international football competitions amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

In a compelling letter addressed to FIFA and UEFA, a coalition of 13 MEPs has emphasized the critical need for immediate action. They advocate for the “immediate expulsion, as a means of exerting pressure, of the Israeli national team and other Israeli teams from all European and international tournaments until the cessation of this conflict.” The MEPs argue that allowing Israeli teams to compete would implicitly condone actions that violate the fundamental rights of the Palestinian population.

Citing the persistent human rights violations in Palestine, the MEPs underscore the imperative for FIFA and UEFA to uphold their purported values of equality, respect, and human rights through football. They assert that the current situation in Gaza runs counter to these principles, demanding a firm stance from the football governing bodies.

Signatories of the letter include Manu Pineda, Javier Nart, Ana Miranda, Maria Palop, Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Miguel Urban, Luke Flanagan, Esther Sanz, Idoia Villaneuva, Marc Botenga, Chris MacManus, and Martin Buschmann.

While football bodies have largely refrained from commenting on the Gaza conflict, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, the president of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), has previously urged FIFA and its member federations to “isolate” Israel in response to the situation.

FERW observes a stark contrast between FIFA’s swift response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its silence on the situation in Gaza. UEFA’s secretary-general, Theodore Theodoridis, has addressed this discrepancy, stating that the circumstances in Russia and Israel are “entirely different.” He emphasizes that UEFA has not entertained discussions or intentions to address the matter similarly, citing the distinctions between the conflicts in both regions.

FERW urges FIFA and UEFA to heed the calls of the MEPs and take meaningful action to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by reconsidering Israel’s participation in international football competitions.

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