Palestinian Football Association calls on FIFA to sanction Israel. GETTY IMAGES

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has asked FIFA to sanction Israeli football teams over the conflict in Gaza, which began on 7th October 2023 when Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel.

The PFA has written to FIFA calling for the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and its clubs to be sanctioned following the Gaza conflict. The PFA is seeking to have its proposal, which is backed by six other member associations, discussed at the FIFA Congress in May. The Palestinians said in their statement that Israel was had committed "unprecedented violations of human rights and humanitarian law."

"The entire football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed or severely damaged," the PFA added. "The loss of innocent lives, including no less than 99 footballers, the destruction of homes... are clear violations of international law." The PFA accused FIFA of failing to act against discrimination and racism within its jurisdiction.

The PFA referred to various incidents, including one in which Israeli media footage showed numerous Palestinians, including children, detained without clothing at Gaza City's Yarmouk Stadium in December 2023. 

Some Arab football associations are supporting Palestine. The Jordan Football Association called for action and the president of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, called on FIFA to "isolate" Israel. 

The IFA includes at least five football clubs from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law. "Such inclusion implicitly recognises Israel's claim to sovereignty over the settlements, which is contrary to international and FIFA obligations," the PFA said.