Palestinians overtake Israel in FIFA world soccer rankings
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Palestinians overtake Israel in FIFA world soccer rankings

Palestine comes in at 82nd place while Jewish state dips down to 98th, its worst position since 1993

The Palestinian national soccer team along with PA President Mahmoud Abbas after winning the AFC Challenge Cup in late May 2014 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/ Flash 90)
The Palestinian national soccer team along with PA President Mahmoud Abbas after winning the AFC Challenge Cup in late May 2014 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/ Flash 90)

The Palestinian soccer team on Thursday topped Israel for the first time in the monthly FIFA global rankings, as the Jewish state slipped 16 spots from October’s list.

Israel was ranked 98th, while “Palestine” jumped two seats to 82nd place, its best-ever placement, according to FIFA.

In 2016, the Palestinians were in 131st place.

The Jewish state’s ranking was its lowest ever, according to the soccer association’s charts, which date back to 1993. Israel’s best-ever year was 1998, when it was 18th on the list.

Topping the FIFA rankings were Germany, Brazil, Portugal, and Argentina.

Israel’s soccer team playing against Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier in Haifa on September 2. 2017. (Screen capture: Kan broadcasting)

The Palestinians and Israel have butted heads at FIFA in the past over Israeli soccer clubs playing in the West Bank.

Earlier this month, FIFA rejected the request by the Palestinian Football Association that it take punitive action against six Israeli teams based in settlements beyond the Green Line.

The Palestinian group argued that the clubs breached FIFA statutes forbidding member associations from playing in another nation’s territory without permission.

Israel says that FIFA rules are unenforceable as there is no permanent, recognized border in the area.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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