RAMALLAH, West Bank — FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he is determined to solve the Palestinian Football Association’s ongoing problems with Israel in high-level meetings.
Some members of the Palestinian national team have been prevented from travel by Israeli security restrictions.
The head of the Palestinian association has called for FIFA sanctions against Israel.
Blatter told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting Monday that “we shall find a solution” but that “it will not be so easy to deal on the other side,” meaning Israel.
Blatter says he is meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.
Blatter pledged his support, telling a beaming Abbas that “your people, but also your football association, is not alone in the world.”
Blatter says he is a “self-declared ambassador of the Palestine people.”How, um, nice for him. Is that a paying gig or something he does pro bono?
Update: From Blatter's Wiki page under the heading "Controversies":
Despite winning four terms as President, Blatter has often been dogged by controversy and allegations of corruption. His tenure has seen controversy over allegations of financial mismanagement and the acceptance of bribes resulting in Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid. Blatter has attracted criticism from the media, senior football figures and players, due to controversial statements. These include the claim that Latin American countries would 'applaud' John Terry for having an extramarital affair, and that on-field racism could be corrected with a 'handshake', among others. He also drew criticism at the 2014 FIFA World Cup seeding, when he interrupted a "one minute silence" for former South-African president Nelson Mandela, who died the day before, after eleven seconds. Michael van Praag, the chairman of the Royal Dutch Football Association, called his behavior "preposterous" and expressed the hope Blatter would not be reelected in 2015.[33The FIFA chief sounds like a loose cannon, no?