FIFA bans Palestinian Authority soccer chief for inciting hatred and violence
PA Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub, who is also the head of the PA Olympic Committee has been suspended for a year from soccer matches and fined $20,300 by the FIFA disciplinary board.
The suspension came in light of calls by Rajoub to burn the shirts and pictures of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi ahead of his national team’s expected match against Israel in June, which was eventually cancelled.
The ban will apply for the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates, which kicks off in January, and likely include the start of the 2022 World Cup qualifying program.
Just like ISIS, Rajoub “incited hatred and violence” by calling on “football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi,” soccer’s governing body said.
Justifying the cancellation of the game, Argentina Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said that the players felt “totally attacked, violated” after images emerged of Argentina’s white and sky-blue striped shirts stained with red paint that resembled blood following Rajoub’s comments.
Following Argentina’s cancellation, Israel national football team coach Alon Hazan said that the cancellation was surprising and disappointing.
“With all due respect to Messi, if the match is canceled because it was supposed to take place in Jerusalem, I wish him and Argentina the best of luck. As an Israeli and a Jew, Jerusalem is far more important to me than Messi and Argentina,” the coach added.
“Messi is the greatest of his generation, but Jerusalem is forever,” he went on to say.