Europe's Soccer Body Said to Oppose Palestinian Bid to Oust Israel From FIFA

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Avi Luzon and Michel Platini.

Europe's governing soccer body will oppose the Palestinian proposal to suspend Israel from FIFA, the international football federation, Israel's representative to the union said Wednesday.

Michel Platini, president of the Union of European Football Associations, held a meeting with the body's executive committee on that matter on Wednesday morning in Warsaw and an official announcement to that effect will likely be released within the coming hours.

The head of the Israel's delegation to the scheduled FIFA congress in Zurich, Ofer Eini, has met with the heads of various soccer unions during his visit in an attempt to prevent a majority from supporting the Palestinian proposal.

Avi Luzon, a member of UEFA's executive council who was present at the Warsaw meeting, confirmed to Haaretz that UEFA would stand behind Israel. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: UEFA will not let Israel be harmed, especially as there is no reason for it," Luzon said. "An agreement has been reached on a four-point draft that is acceptable to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, Platini, [FIFA president Sepp Blatter] and now [Palestinian soccer chief] Jibril Rajoub."

"In the worst case scenario, if the Palestinians do not agree to pull the proposal and the congress is held as planned, UEFA will prevent the suspension of Israel in a very clear way," Luzon said. "From the conversations with important people, face to face here in Warsaw, I can say without a doubt that concern over Israel's suspension through a vote will not happen."

The news from Warsaw emerged just hours after six FIFA officials were arrested over alleged corruption. FIFA president Blatter held consultations with a number of legal sources regarding canceling the congress that was schedule to take place this week in Zurich. In the early afternoon, FIFA representatives said there was no reason why the congress should not be held as planned.

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