FIFA has deferred its decision on a Palestinian demand to have Israeli teams removed from the world soccer body. 

The executive council of the world’s governing body for football, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), deferred its decision on the standing of the Israeli Football Association (IFA). FIFA was slated to decide on the expulsion of Israeli teams based in Judea and Samaria at its upcoming congress.

More than 100 sports and so-called human rights associations have called on FIFA to demand that the IFA exclude teams based in that region and for FIFA to suspend Israel completely if it refuses to comply.

Israel argues that FIFA rules cannot be enforced as there is no permanent border.

The council made its announcement shortly after the chairman of the Monitoring Committee on Israel-Palestine, Tokyo Sexwale, presented his report and recommendations on the matter ahead of the FIFA Congress in Bahrain.

“Following the report by chairman of the Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine Tokyo Sexwale, the FIFA Council considered that at this stage it is premature for the FIFA Congress to take any decision,” a FIFA statement read.

It is not clear from the statement whether the issue will remain on the congress’ agenda.

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA), led by Jibril Rajoub, who served time in Israeli prison for terror and continues to glorify violence, could still make a proposal to the congress in an attempt to force a decision.

A FIFA commission chaired by Sexwale presented several potential solutions in a report in March, but these were rejected by Rajoub.

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder welcomed the decision.

“Politics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have no place in sport – these are issues meant for the negotiating table, not the football field. FIFA’s position as the most prominent regulatory body in the sporting world, one which bridges divides between countries and peoples, must be safeguarded. By keeping politics out of football, FIFA’s central role in the effort to promote respect among nations through sports will be secured,” Lauder stated.

This is not the first time Arab entities have tried and failed to undermine Israel through FIFA.

The Palestinians have utilized FIFA several times over the past year as a platform for undermining Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel