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AFC backs Palestine’s proposal to suspend Israel from FIFA

DOHA: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has expressed its support for the Palestine Football Association’s proposal to suspend Israel from FIFA due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. This significant decision was announced during the AFC congress in Bangkok on Thursday, with AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa voicing strong support for the motion ahead of Friday’s FIFA congress.

Sheikh Salman emphasized the unity and collective strength of the AFC’s member associations, stating, “The AFC is only as strong as its members and when one suffers, all its other members are affected. The AFC stands together with the Palestine FA, and we join them in seeking effective football-related solutions to the grievances raised by the Palestine FA in their proposal.”

The proposal, which seeks to “adopt immediate and appropriate sanctions against Israeli teams,” was submitted to FIFA on March 11. It has garnered support from several regional federations, including those from Algeria, Jordan, Syria, and Yemen. AFC delegates showed solidarity by observing a minute’s silence for the victims of the Israel-Gaza conflict and viewing a video produced by the Palestine FA that highlighted the destruction caused by Israeli forces.

Sheikh Salman stressed the role of football in uniting people, even in times of conflict, saying, “Football can do only very little because to change situations everywhere in the world which are tragic, all we can do is to show unity because football is what unites everyone.”

In addition to this significant geopolitical stance, the AFC congress also approved a motion to abolish term limits for its president and executive committee members. Previously, office bearers were restricted to three four-year terms. The move to remove these limits was passed with broad support, though Australia and Jordan voted against it.

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