Middle Eastern Football Associations Call for Israel Ban Over Gaza Conflict

Twelve Middle Eastern football associations, comprising the West Asian Football Federations (WAFF), have issued a joint call for the banning of Israel's national football team from international competitions. The demand comes in response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. This report will analyze the implications of this call, reactions from involved parties, and potential ramifications for international football.

1. Call for Ban:

The WAFF, representing countries including Jordan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, sent a letter to FIFA and other football governing bodies urging them to isolate the Israel Football Association (IFA). The letter accuses Israel of committing atrocities against civilians, including players, coaches, referees, and officials, and calls for solidarity in condemning these actions.

2. Context of Gaza Conflict:

The call for Israel's ban stems from the recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The conflict has resulted in significant loss of life and destruction of infrastructure, with both sides facing accusations of human rights violations. The WAFF's letter cites the death toll in Gaza and refers to recent rulings from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the protection of Palestinians' rights.

3. Reactions:

The President of the Israel Football Association (IFA), Moshe Zuares, criticized the WAFF's call as "cynical and shameless," dismissing it as a minority viewpoint. Zuares emphasized the IFA's commitment to football and rejected the politicization of sports. Israeli President Isaac Herzog defended Israel's actions in Gaza, maintaining that they are in accordance with international law.

4. FIFA and UEFA Response:

FIFA and UEFA have yet to issue an official response to the WAFF's call. However, UEFA's General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis indicated that there are no intentions to discuss or implement such a ban. The comparison was drawn with the suspension of the Russian Football Union following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the complexity of international relations within football governance.

5. Potential Ramifications:

The call for Israel's ban raises questions about the intersection of politics and sports in international football. If implemented, such a ban could have significant consequences for Israeli football, including exclusion from international competitions and restrictions on participation in club competitions. However, the decision ultimately lies with FIFA and UEFA, who will need to navigate the diplomatic complexities of the situation.


The call for Israel's ban from international football competitions underscores the deep-seated tensions surrounding the Gaza conflict. While the WAFF's letter represents a strong stance from Middle Eastern football associations, the response from FIFA and UEFA will determine the course of action. The situation highlights the delicate balance between sports and politics in the realm of international football governance.

This report provides an overview of the recent developments regarding the call for Israel's ban in light of the Gaza conflict, emphasizing the potential implications and the need for diplomatic resolution within the football community.