You are here: HomeSports2015 05 27Article 359836

Sports News of Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Avram Grant urges FIFA not to ban Israel

Ghana coach Avram Grant has urged FIFA not to bow to pressure from the Palestinian football authorities who want sanctions to be imposed on Israel insisting the game must be used as the tool for uniting people.

The Palestinian FA (PFA) want FIFA to vote today to ban Israel Football Association to force them to allow their players to play football without any restrictions from the government of Israel.

The PFA claim Israeli security restrictions are limiting the movement of Palestinian players, visiting teams and equipment and have put forward a proposal to suspend Israel from world football.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter opposes the suspension vote, saying Israel has not broken FIFA statutes in a political issue outside of football’s control and that stance has the backing of former Chelsea boss Grant.

He told Sky Sports News HQ: “FIFA faces a very important decision that affects the future of sports. FIFA must not allow this great game to be influenced by politics.

“I am currently coaching in Africa. Before this, I coached in Asia and in Europe.

“I also selected several Arabs for the Israeli national side and have seen on recent coaching trips to Jordan and Ramallah (West Bank city) that football is a bridge between hate and hope.

“We can use football to help and unite people of all nationalities and religions. If FIFA close this bridge they are taking the first step towards the destruction of football. I cannot say how important it is that politics should not have any place in football.”

Blatter was recently in the Middle East on a self-described ‘mission of peace’ in a bid to resolve tensions between the two sides and the issue will be discussed at the 209-nation FIFA meeting beginning in Zurich on 29 May.

Israel are currently third in Group B in the European qualifiers, two points behind Wales, who they are scheduled to play in September; Wales won the reverse fixture in Haifa 3-0 in March.