Doubts arise over Palestine's hosting capabilities
Which of these clowns will lead FIFA?
Several Pakistani sources have reported over the past 48 hours about the postponement or possible cancellation of the friendlies slated for May 24th & 27th.
Palestine always ran the risk of having this friendly unilaterally cancelled by the Israeli Occupation due to the fact that Pakistan and Israel do not have diplomatic relations. It also leaves the national team with no scheduled friendlies ahead of their June 29th qualifier against Afghanistan.
Speaking of the World Cup and Olympic qualifiers, there is still no clarity over where the return legs will be played. FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his rival, AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam, have both given Palestine the green light to host matches. What they have failed to address is what happens when:
- A nation citing its refusal to recognize Israel, refuses to play an official qualifier in Palestine.
- A nation accepts to play in Palestine despite the absence of diplomatic relations with Israel but is not allowed entry into Palestine by the Israeli Occupation.
The first scenario is an easy one for Bin Hammam and Blatter to handle. You can stand by your initial decision and award the match to Palestine 3-0. It's an easy out for both men who essentially are unchecked dictators in their respective governing bodies. The second scenario is a political minefield with no easy out. Bin Hammam/Blatter could backtrack and reverse their decision but Blatter (the man expected to win the FIFA presidency) hasn't been one to back down. He has stared down the logic of goal line technology and rebuffed it year after year, botched call after botched call. Don't forget this is the same man who forced a grieving Nelson Mandela into making a public appearance before the World Cup Final.
The question is will Blatter levy punishment on the Israeli FA? FIFA has handed out suspensions for "government interference" in football. Israel has denied players the right to travel abroad and the right to re-enter on a continuous basis over the past 10 years. Sepp Blatter admitted that this situation has gotten worse and has vouched that FIFA will seek an exceptional solution to this exceptional problem.
Both FIFA candidates for President have given the Palestinian FA plenty of support over the past three years. This support, however, has never been put under duress and it remains to be seen what Bin Hammam or Blatter will do when extenuating circumstances get in the way of Palestine hosting a qualifying match.
Bin Hammam in his own words.
Blatter in his own words.