Abbas Welcomes Appointment of Sexwale to Lead FIFA Monitoring Committee

RAMALLAH, June 13, 2015 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday welcomed the appointment of former South African cabinet minister and African National Congress leader Tokyo Sexwale to lead the committee charged with monitoring Israeli violations against Palestinian football players.

Abbas expressed his confidence that Tokyo, former South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela’s comrade, who has been awarded medals for his role in ending the era of apartheid, terrorism and oppression  in South Africa, is capable of protecting Palestinian sports.

During its 65th  congress in Zurich, FIFA voted in favor of the formation of the committee after the bid to suspend Israel’s membership in FIFA was dropped by Chairman of Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub.

The football governing body voted instead on an amendment proposing the formation of a committee to monitor the movement of Palestinian football players, Israeli racism, as well as the status of Israeli league teams based in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Passed with 90 percent of member nations voting in favor, the new amendment designates a “multi-lateral monitor committee to work directly under the rules of the FIFA Ethics, Legal and Discrimination committees, and will be composed of international Observers.”

FIFA announced on its website that representatives from Israel and Palestine will work with Sexwale, who is currently President of Global Watch and a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to address issues relating to a good understanding between the football organisations of Israel and Palestine.

Commenting on Sexwale’s appointment, Blatter said: “From his own experiences and expertise in community reconciliation and conflict resolution in South Africa, we believe Sexwale is well placed to help improve access for football in the Palestinian territories.”

Sexwale said: “This assignment regarding the tension between Palestine and Israel is no easy walk and shall have to be approached with sensitivity and circumspection. I therefore hope that an acceptable solution shall be arrived at.”