ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Iran asks FIFA to ‘completely suspend’ Israel from all soccer events over Gaza war

Request also calls for ‘serious measures’ by soccer associations ‘to prevent continuation of Israeli crimes’ and provide food, water and medical supplies to innocent Gazans

Romania's Andrei Ratiu, left, duels for the ball with Israel's Tai Baribo during the Euro 2024 group I qualifying soccer match between Israel and Romania at the Pancho Arena in Felcsut, Hungary, Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Denes Erdos)
Romania's Andrei Ratiu, left, duels for the ball with Israel's Tai Baribo during the Euro 2024 group I qualifying soccer match between Israel and Romania at the Pancho Arena in Felcsut, Hungary, Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Denes Erdos)

Iran’s soccer federation said Saturday it has asked world football’s governing body, FIFA, to suspend Israel’s federation over the country’s war in Gaza.

In an announcement posted on the Iranian football federation’s website, Iran asked FIFA to “completely suspend” the Israeli federation “from all activities related to football.”

The request also asks for “immediate and serious measures” by FIFA and its member associations “to prevent the continuation” of the Israeli “crimes and provide food, drinking water, medicinal and medical supplies to innocent people and civilians.”

War erupted in Gaza after Hamas’s October 7 massacres, which saw thousands of terrorists burst into Israel, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping over 250, mostly civilians, many amid horrific acts of brutality and sexual assault.

In response, Israel vowed to eradicate Hamas and launched a ground and air offensive that has killed at least 27,947 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. These figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 10,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Iran has hailed Hamas’s October 7 attack as a “success” but has denied any direct involvement.

The request came a month after two Israeli soccer players were deported from Turkey for making a gesture of sympathy to the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7.

Israeli soccer player Sagiv Jehezkel displays a message of solidarity with hostages held in Gaza while celebrating a goal for Turkish club Antalyaspor on January 14, 2024 (Handout / DHA (Demiroren News Agency) / AFP)

The Iranian authorities last August gave a lifetime ban to Mostafa Rajaei, a weightlifter, after he shook hands with an Israeli competitor at an event in Poland, state media reported at the time.

The Iranian weightlifting federation also dismissed the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.

In 2021, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged athletes “not to shake hands with a representative of the (Israeli) criminal regime to obtain a medal.”

A group of Middle Eastern football associations, including Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have also “asked world football chiefs to ban Israel over the war on Hamas in Gaza,” Sky News reported on Thursday.

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