Palestinians seek to force FIFA to rule on Israeli soccer clubs
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Palestinians seek to force FIFA to rule on Israeli soccer clubs

In appeal to top sports court, Palestinians ask world soccer governing body to make a decision on legality of West Bank settlement clubs

A man watches his son during a training session of the Beitar Shabi Givat Zeev soccer club, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Givat Ze'ev, near Jerusalem, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A man watches his son during a training session of the Beitar Shabi Givat Zeev soccer club, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Givat Ze'ev, near Jerusalem, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) appealed to the world’s top sports court on Tuesday, seeking to force FIFA to rule on the future of Israeli soccer clubs playing in the West Bank.

The case filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is aimed at voiding a FIFA resolution, passed at its Congress last month, to push back a decision on the Israeli clubs until March 2018 at the latest.

The PFA argues that the presence of six Israeli clubs in the West Bank is in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbids another member association playing on another territory without permission.

The Palestinians had called for a resolution stating that as a full FIFA member the PFA has the right to block Israeli teams from playing on its land.

In its CAS appeal, the PFA called for FIFA’s postponement decision to be declared “null and void” and that “FIFA be ordered to immediately vote” on the issue, the Lausanne-based court said in a statement.

Israel argues that FIFA rules are unenforceable as there is no permanent border.

The Jewish state accuses the PFA of trying to use a soccer flap to establish borders.

The disputed soccer clubs controversy has now been presented to five separate FIFA Congresses.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said the body’s final decision will likely come before the March 2018 deadline, indicating it will be resettled at the next Congress in India in October.

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