FIFA announced on Wednesday that it would be taking disciplinary steps against Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), for threatening Lionel Messi, the star player of the Argentinian team.
Rajoub had urged fans to burn pictures and shirts of Messi if he played in a friendly game against Israel in Jerusalem that was cancelled.
Israel’s Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev called Rajoub a terrorist, and said she felt vindicated by the decision.
She had said that the cancellation was due to the threats against Messi, while her political opponents charged that it was because she moved the game from Haifa to Jerusalem.
“Rajoub has made the football playing field into a battlefield,” Regev told the Knesset plenum after holding up a poster of Palestinian threats against Messi. “The Argentinians wanted the game to be in Jerusalem and FIFA wanted it to be in Jerusalem, so those who said it was cancelled because of Jerusalem and not terror threats must apologise.”
This is not the first time Israel was targeted by the PFA nor was it the first time Rajoub was vocal about the Israel Football Association (IFA). Last week, The IFA planned to file a formal complaint with FIFA over the cancellation of a friendly match between Israel and Argentina, which the latter association was using as a World Cup warm-up.