FIFA to probe Palestinian football head for glorifying terror and incitement

The international football organisation FIFA has launched an investigation of the chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, for breaching the body’s ethics code.

The investigation is based on evidence submitted to FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which found that Rajoub and the PFA have been promoting and glorifying terrorism; inciting hatred and violence; promoting racism; and preventing the use of the game of soccer to build a bridge for peace.

The situation came to a head nearly two years after PMW submitted its complaint to the international football organisation in 2017.

A letter from FIFA’s chief of investigation in the ethics committee, Martin Nagoga, to Rajoub leaked by a pro-Palestinian media site – states that Rajoub needs to respond individually to each of the points he disputes.

“To the extent that you dispute any part of the… complaint and allegations, you are hereby requested to submit a statement identifying every point in the complaint allegations that you dispute; an explanation of why you dispute each such point; a description of any and all additional facts you contend, clarify, contradict, or are otherwise relevant to the issue or point in dispute; and all documents, records, or data within your possession, custody, or control that support your position,” the letter stated.

Nagoga wrote that there is “prima facie evidence” based on PMW’s “Kick Terror Out of Football” complaint that “you may have committed violations of the FCE [FIFA Ethics Code] in your position as President of the Palestinian Football Association.”

In the leaked letter, Nagoga said Rajoub had been accused of “personally” promoting and glorifying terrorism in an “active and… passive manner.”

This includes several soccer events that had PFA backing or organised by Rajoub that bared the name of terrorists, as well as several soccer teams that were named after terrorists and terrorist organisations that had killed Israeli citizens.

The letter also said that Rajoub is being accused of making statements in which he encouraged Hamas to kidnap soldiers.

This is not the first time Rajoub has been disciplined by the football umbrella body.
In the past, FIFA fined Rajoub 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,340) and banned from matches for a year by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee for threatening Lionel Messi, the star striker of the Argentine soccer team.

Rajoub and the PFA has also made several appeals and attempts to FIFA to have Israel’s Football Association sanctioned.

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