FIFA Hand Palestinian Chief Twelve-Month Ban Over Messi Comments

FIFA Hand Palestinian Chief Twelve-Month Ban Over Messi Comments

More than a decade of incitement against Israel's participation in world soccer by Jibril Rajoub - the former convicted terrorist who heads the Palestine Football Association (PFA) - backfired spectacularly on Friday, when soccer's global governing body, FIFA, slapped him with a twelve-month ban. He urged Palestinians to burn shirts bearing the name of Lionel Messi if Argentina's star went ahead and played there.

Following the cancellation of the game, Rajoub abruptly changed his tune, obsequiously thanking Messi and the Argentine FA for pulling out.

Global soccer body Federation Internationale de Football Association said on Friday its disciplinary committee considered Rajoub's statements "incited hatred and violence".

The match between Argentina and Israel was eventually cancelled.

"The 12-month suspension entails a ban on taking part in any future match or competition taking place during the given period".

Rajoub's plea caught FIFA's attention, and he was fined $20,000 in addition to the year-long ban from attending any football matches.

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It also vowed to "do everything in its power in the world football institutions to make Rajoub and the Palestinian FA accountable". He was filmed in June, saying in Arabic "we will target Messi and we will ask everyone to burn his t-shirt, his picture and to abandon him".

But Rajoub is able to continue running the federation and attend FIFA meetings. The following year, he pursued a failed campaign to expel Israel from Federation Internationale de Football Association, world soccer's governing body.

Rajoub has headed a Palestinian campaign for Federation Internationale de Football Association to ban Israeli teams who are based in settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are considered illegal under worldwide law.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev seen with fans before the start of a match between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin F.C., at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on January 22, 2018.

A friendly match which was scheduled to be played between Argentina and Israel in Jerusalem was cancelled last June after Argentina bowed to pressure surrounding Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

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