Tensions regarding the Palestinian bid to expel Israel from FIFA dissipated Friday as the proposal was dropped after a compromise deal was reached at FIFA's congress in Zurich, Switzerland. With representatives from all member nations in attendance, the body also voted on the reelection of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who retained his leadership after his sole competitor – Jordan's Prince Ali - conceded, despite a massive corruption scandal overshadowing the meeting.
Blatter captured 133 of the 206 valid votes cast in a secret paper ballot. His lone challenger, Ali, won 73 votes. Shortly afterwards, Ali conceded, securing an additional term for Blatter. (AP)
8:14 P.M. Speaking to Channel 2 on the Palestinians' dropped FIFA bid, Israeli soccer chief Ofer Eini says attempts to boycott Israel “will never end until there will be a diplomatic process, or maybe a peace deal." (Haaretz)
8:00 P.M. Neither Sepp Blatter nor Jordanian Prince Ali won the prerequisite two-thirds of votes during voting for the FIFA presidency, prompting a second round.
The ballot of the first round of voting for the FIFA leadership ended with Blatter winning 133 of the votes, while Prince Ali took only 73. In the second round only a simple majority is needed. (Reuters)
7:45 P.M. Key parts from the amendment presented by the Palestine Football Association to FIFA:
In order to end the suffering and discrimination of our Palestinian football family at the hands of the illegal and racist occupation of our land, we have presented a proposal for a final solution.
The proposal stipulates 3 main concerns: (1) The restrictions of Palestinian rights for the freedom of movement. (2) The continued racism and discriminatory behavior of IFA officials and clubs in direct violation of not only the principles of FIFA, (including FIFA’s no-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination) (3) the grave concern over at least five Israeli clubs located in illegal settlements in the occupied State of Palestine.
6:05 P.M. President Rivlin called Israel Football Association chairman Ofer Eini to express his support for "making sure the 'game' ended with a proper result instead of ending differently."
"In sports, there are only winners on the field," Rivlin said, adding that the result proves that "attempts to harm Israel fail and will continue to fail." He praised the Israeli Football Association for their "impressive and decisive" for their efforts. (Haaretz)
5:45 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the developments, saying in a statement that the result "proved our international efforts paid off and brought about the failure of the Palestinian Authority's attempt to expel us from FIFA (and) I want to thanks those involved especially Israel Football Association chairman Ofer Eini."
Netanyahu further said that "Israel is interested in peace which would create security for its citizens, but this will not be achieved through coercion and manipulation. The only way to reach peace is through direct negotiations."
Netanyahu derided the Palestinians for what he called a "provocation" saying it joined a long list of "unilateral actions taken by the Palestinians in the international arena. As long as these efforts continue peace will only be further delayed." (Barak Ravid)
WATCH: Israeli and Palestinian soccer chiefs Ofer Eini and Jibril Rajoub shake hands after compromise staves off vote to expel Israel from FIFA http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.658701 (Video courtesy of Israel Football Association)
5:30 P.M. Eini also responded to the events, saying "I'm glad for Israeli soccer and for the state of Israel that the threat of expulsion has been removed."
Eini praised the Israel Football Association, Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what he described as "significant and strenuous efforts" to prevent the vote and reach a compromise.
Eini also praised the FIFA and UEFA leaders Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, for working "to reach a just solution."
"This is a happy day for soccer lovers and supporters of peace," he said, explaining that he "shook Rajoub's hand because I have faith and know that things can be different. Now is the time for celebration," he concluded. (Haaretz)
4:45 P.M. Palestinians introduce amended version of proposal, which drops demand for banning Israel from FIFA, but includes the formation of a committee to look into the freedom of movement for Palestinian soccer players, Israeli racism, and the status of Israeli league teams based in the West Bank.
Israel and Palestinian representatives Ofer Eini and Jibril Rajoub shake hands after deal prevents FIFA expulsion vote. Reuters
Proposal passes with 90 percent of nations voting in favor. FIFA president Blatter invited Israeli and Palestinian representatives Eini and Rajoub to shake hands.
PA proposal passes with 90% of votes, though not clear whether it is Rajoub's or Blatter's interpretation that prevails
4:50 P.M: Palestinian soccer chief welcomes Eini's call for a handshake, but demands FIFA vote on compromise deal: "Let bygones be bygones," Rajoub said.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the congress that at this point "there is no motion to ban any association from the league."
4:40 P.M. Israel soccer federation chief Ofer Eini addresses FIFA conference, after a compromise deal with Palestinians was presented. Eini invited Rajoub to the stage to shake his hand, but the latter refused.
According to the compromise, should the Palestinians withdraw their proposal to ban Israel, Israel and FIFA would agree to form a joint committee to discuss ongoing issues faced by Palestinian soccer clubs. The deal also suggests the UN will decide the fate of five Israeli soccer teams based in the West Bank.
4:20 P.M. Palestinian soccer federation chief Jibril Rajoub takes to the stage to address the Palestinian bid to ban Israel from FIFA, saying the Palestinians have decided to drop overall bid.
Addressing the congress, Rajoub said the Palestinians still demand the UN look into the status of five Israeli teams based in the West Bank.
Rajoub demands FIFA vote on free movement for Palestinian footballers, probe of Israeli racism; steps against W Bank teams in Israeli league
2:55 P.M. The Israeli delegation at the FIFA Congress are approaching a compromise, meaning that there will be no vote on Israel's expulsion from FIFA. (Barak Ravid)
2:47 P.M. FIFA Congress resumes after all clear given following bomb threat.
2:30 P.M. Swiss police are investigating a bomb threat at the FIFA congress, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
"I can confirm there has been a bomb threat against the FIFA congress, officers have been dispatched" the spokeswoman for the city police said. (Reuters)