Asian Soccer Chief Slams IDF for Searching Palestinian Football Assocation HQ

Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa says West Bank raid set 'dangerous precedent that requires the international sporting family to stand together.

The Associated Press
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.Credit: Wikipedia Commons
The Associated Press

Asian Football Confederation president Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa has denounced the search of the Palestinian Football Association headquarters in the West Bank by the Israeli military on Monday, describing it as intolerable and unacceptable.

In a statement on the AFC's website Tuesday, Sheik Salman accused the military of "breaking into the PFA headquarters," saying it was "a dangerous precedent that requires the international sporting family to stand together and support the PFA."

He said the AFC would work with FIFA, soccer's international governing body, to "study ways and mechanisms to put an end to the suffering of Palestinian football and send a tough message to the Israeli authorities to stop its attacks on various parts of the Palestinian footballing system."

The Israel Defense Forces said it was checking into the report.

The Palestinian Football Association has complained about Israeli travel restrictions on some of their players in the West Bank as well as in the Gaza Strip, a territory ruled by the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas.

Israel has cited concerns about possible attacks by Palestinian militants as the main reason for sweeping restrictions on movement that affect most Palestinians, including athletes.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter intervened to try and mediate earlier this year, but the problems persist.

Despite a lack of training camps and the travel restrictions, the Palestinian team won the AFC Challenge Cup in May to qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia, reaching the continental championship for the first time.

The team started competing regularly in international competitions after being admitted by FIFA in 1998 following the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority.