Craig Foster calls for FIFA: 'Suspend Israel amid Gaza conflict'

Former Australian football player Craig Foster has urged FIFA, the global governing body of football, to suspend Israel's membership due to the ongoing attacks on Gaza.

Publication: 11.05.2024 - 12:58
Craig Foster calls for FIFA: 'Suspend Israel amid Gaza conflict'
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Ahead of the 74th FIFA Congress scheduled for May 17 in Bangkok, Foster emphasized the importance of adhering to FIFA’s human rights commitments. He highlighted the urgent need for action based on the International Court of Justice’s findings, which suggest potential acts of genocide. "There are 600,000 children in Rafah who love football, yet FIFA remains silent on the issue," Foster stated, criticizing FIFA for not taking action against the Israeli football association despite ongoing hostilities since October.

The calls for Israel's suspension are gaining traction, with the Palestine Football Association and 12 members of the West Asian Football Federation pushing for immediate action until hostilities cease. Foster has reached out to the Australian football community and fans globally, urging them to lobby their football federations and FIFA directly. His activism follows precedents set by FIFA and UEFA, who previously imposed bans on Russia for its war on Ukraine in 2022, South Africa in 1961 due to apartheid policies, and Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav Wars.

Meanwhile, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, reported that Israeli attacks since October have resulted in the deaths of at least 265 Palestinian sports figures. The ongoing conflict has devastated Gaza’s sports infrastructure, with Israel destroying over 55 sports facilities and converting some into detention centers akin to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, Rajoub explained. These actions have further hindered Palestine’s ability to organize leagues or host FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The International Court of Justice has labeled the situation in Gaza as potentially genocidal, with an interim ruling in January demanding that Israel cease such acts and ensure humanitarian aid reaches civilians. As the conflict continues, over 34,900 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed, and more than 78,500 injured, devastating Gaza and displacing 85% of its population, according to UN reports and Palestinian health authorities.

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