Sepp Blatter’s solution for Israel and Palestine’s federations: A friendly match in Zurich

FIFA “President for Life” Sepp Blatter is in the midst of urgently trying to broker a deal between the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and the Palestinian Football Association (PFA). The urgency is because on May 29, 2015, a PFA resolution proposal to kick Israel out of FIFA will be voted on at the FIFA Congress in Zurich. Blatter isn’t really interested in that happening.

Over the past couple of years, Blatter has been searching for a solution to reconcile the competing needs of the PFA and IFA. The crux of the PFA’s grievance is rooted in Israeli interference in the movement of its players, officials and clubs, who are routinely restricted from travel from, to, and within Palestinian territories. The PFA contends that these restrictions, coupled with restrictions on equipment bound for Palestinian territories, is a violation of FIFA statutes stating that “each Member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”

The AP reports that Blatter, who is currently in Jerusalem on a self-proclaimed “mission of peace,” is basically throwing up Hail Marys, coming up with GTFOH ideas like Israel and Palestine playing a friendly “peace match” in Zurich. Although a peace match is an absurd idea on its face — straight out of Clickhole — it’s firmly up the alley of a delusional man who believes that soccer can simultaneously be apolitical and save the world.

This delusional person has been joined by IFA president Ofer Eini, who is on board with the friendly. That isn’t surprising, given the amount of effort the IFA is putting into defeating the vote. But considering the substantive issues raised by the PFA, and its previously stated lack of interest in meeting with the IFA without guarantees that they’ll solve the issues on the table, a friendly match is unlikely to hold any real weight with PFA officials. The problem was, and still is, that for years neither side has been willing to make substantive concessions.

So here we are, a little over two weeks from the FIFA Congress, with heavy issues on the table. Once again, standing front and center, in the middle of a clusterfuck, is Sepp Blatter, desperately trying to be an adequate statesman. The idea that someone intimately aware of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows up to negotiate with a carrot made out of a friendly match in Zurich is just another sign that … he should get reelected for his fifth term as FIFA president on May 29.

And the clown car keeps on movin’.


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