AFC condemns Israel’s search of Palestinian FA headquarters

FIFA said in a statement that President Sepp Blatter “was very sad to learn about an incident

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An alleged search of the Palestinian Football Association headquarters in the West Bank by the Israeli military was denounced by Asian Football Confederation president Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa on Tuesday.

The military, however, said it hadn’t targeted the building and there was no raid there.

A day after the alleged incident, Sheik Salman accused the Israelis of “breaking into the PFA headquarters ... a dangerous precedent that requires the international sporting family to stand together and support the PFA,” he said in a statement on the AFC website.

The AFC would work with FIFA, he added, to “study ways and mechanisms to put an end to the suffering of Palestinian football, and send a tough message to the Israeli authorities to stop its attacks on various parts of the Palestinian footballing system.”

FIFA said in a statement that President Sepp Blatter “was very sad to learn about an incident involving (the) Israeli army force that happened yesterday (Monday).”

In Tel Aviv, The military said a routine patrol in the area asked some Palestinians for their identification cards, and when they said the cards were inside the football association building, had followed them inside to check the cards.

The PFA has complained about Israeli travel restrictions on some of its players in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a territory ruled by the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas.

Israel has cited concerns about possible attacks by Palestinian militants as the main reason for sweeping restrictions on movement that affects most Palestinians, including athletes.

Blatter intervened to try to mediate, and first hosted a meeting with leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian football federations at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters in September 2013. Still, the problems persist.

“Therefore a joint meeting between both organizations has been scheduled for December in Morocco,” FIFA said. The planned meeting is on the sidelines of the Club World Cup.

Despite a lack of training camps and the travel restrictions, the Palestinians won the AFC Challenge Cup in May to qualify for the Asian Cup, in 2015 in Australia, for the first time.

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