Palestinians turn to FIFA over Israeli restrictions — +972 Mag com

For the second time in a week, Israeli authorities place travel restrictions on players meant to participate in Palestine Cup matches. A motion to expel Israel from FIFA last year was withdrawn after Palestinians received assurances on freedom of movement.

Gaza Strip's Shejaiya team Hebron's Al-Ahly's team play a football match for the Palestine Cup final on August 14, 2015 at Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in the West Bank city of Hebron. Hebron's Al-Ahly won 2-0 in a dramatic finish to the first footballing showdown in 15 years with a team from Israeli-blockaded Gaza to be proclaimed Palestinian champions. Al-Ahli will now represent Palestine, a member of football's world governing body FIFA since 1998, in international competitions. Photo by Flash90

Hebron’s Ahly al-Khalil plays Gaza-based Shejaiya in the 2015 Palestine Cup, held in Hebron, West Bank, August 14, 2015. Hebron won the title. (Flash90)

The Palestinian Football Association said it will escalate its complaint with FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, over Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian soccer players to travel between the West Bank and Gaza for games in the Palestine Cup over the past week, Palestinian news site Sawa reported Saturday.

The complaint comes as the Israeli military has refused to allow seven players from Gaza-based Shabab Khan Younis to exit the Gaza Strip in order to play a Palestine Cup match in the West Bank in Hebron on Saturday.

Appeals to Israeli officials to resolve the matter were reportedly unsuccessful. Palestinian Football Association officials delayed Saturday’s game by 48 hours in hopes that with the intervention of FIFA, Israel might allow the Palestinian players to exit Gaza in order to play in the cup match.

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