Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub. (AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi) AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi
Jibril Rajoub

The punishment marked an embarrassing blow for Jibril Rajoub, who led an extended campaign of harassment targeting international soccer phenom Lionel Messi.

By United With Israel Staff and AP

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has dismissed an appeal by the head of Palestinian soccer against his ban by FIFA, the international football governing body, for “inciting hatred and violence” toward Lionel Messi.

CAS says its judging panel decided that FIFA’s sanctions against Palestinian soccer federation president Jibril Rajoub – a one-year ban from attending games and a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,250) – “were not disproportionate.”

Rajoub’s ban expires next month, before the national team’s first 2022 World Cup qualifying game at home to Uzbekistan on Sept. 5.

Rajoub’s comments were made when Argentina was due to play a warm-up game in Israel for the 2018 World Cup.

He urged fans to burn Argentina shirts with Messi’s name and pictures of the Barcelona star.

Israel’s soccer federation filed a complaint to FIFA, and canceled its Argentina game.

Rajoub had charged that FIFA made its decision based on a complaint by “a right-wing Israeli who lives in an illegal settlement in [Judea and Samaria].”

The punishment marked an embarrassing blow for Rajoub, who has long lobbied FIFA to sanction Israel for what he claimed was a restriction of movement of Palestinian players.

Israel has rejected the Palestinian argument as an attempt to politicize sports and has cited security concerns as the reason behind the occasional restrictions placed on Palestinian players, particularly in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians have utilized FIFA several times in recent years as a platform for attacking Israel.

Rajoub, who served time in an Israeli prison for acts terrorism, is the driving force behind the Palestinian battle against Israel in the world of sports.

“Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity,” Rajoub stated in 2014.

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