FIFA President Sepp Blatter Says Israel Must Ease Travel For Palestinian Players
FIFA President Sepp Blatter told Palestinian sports leaders on Sunday that "he would speak to Israeli officials to try to ease travel restrictions" on Palestinian football players, according to Ali Sawafta of REUTERS. Blatter was due to meet Israel's football chiefs on Monday and "was also hoping to speak to political leaders on the matter." Palestinians "are angry that Israel's security forces, who control movement between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank frequently prevent athletes from travelling freely between the two separated territories." Blatter: "I will go to defend not only the Palestine Football Association but I will defend the basic principles of FIFA (which are) to connect people and not to separate people... The principles are ... to recognise each other through football and to live not only in peace but in harmony" (REUTERS, 7/8).