Israel will not be suspended from playing in Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) competitions, the head of the organization has asserted.
During a press conference at the UEFA Congress on Thursday, the organization's Secretary General Theodore Theodoridis made it clear that the attempt to suspend Israel and its national team from European soccer competition will not succeed. "There is no intention to suspend Israel, its situation and Russia's are completely different," Theodoridis said.
Britain's Sky Sports reported Thursday morning that 12 soccer associations in the Middle East asked FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, to remove Israel from all competitions following Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza, over what they say are "the injustices that are taking place in Palestine and the war crimes that are happening in Gaza."
The Jordan Football Association is behind the initiative, and was joined by, among others, the Saudi, Qatari and Palestinian associations. “We, the West Asian Football Federations, encompassing all its members, call upon FIFA, the football confederations, and member associations to join us in taking a decisive stand against the atrocities committed in Palestine and the war crimes in Gaza, by condemning the killing of innocent civilians including players, coaches, referees and officials, the destruction of the football infrastructure, and taking a united front in isolating the Israeli Football Association from all football-related activities until these acts of aggression cease,” read the letter to FIFA.
The chairman of the Israeli association, Shino Zuares, responded: "We were not surprised by the cynical and shameless move by a few associations. We do not make light of the battles on the subject, all of which ended in a moral and practical victory in the face of hypocrisy and hostility whose true motives no cover or excuse will hide."
"Once again, the Israel Football Association, together with brave and fair members of FIFA, UEFA and other confederations and associations in the world, will lead a fight against dark forces and prevent fatal damage to the State of Israel, to the sport in blue and white colors and to Israeli football. As soon as I return tomorrow from the UEFA Congress and the UEFA Nations League draw, I will establish an action team that will ensure optimal preparation to eradicate the new threat. We will win, also in this arena," he said.