Rajoub’s Incitement Appeal Shot Down, Suspension Stands

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / PFA President Jibril Rajoub's suspension and fine for incitement stand.

Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub’s yearlong ban and $20,000 fine will not be repealed after the International Court of Arbitration struck down his appeal.

In 2018, Rajoub called on fans to burn the shirts of Argentinean football players, singling out and targeting superstar Lionel Messi for a planned match against Israel in Jerusalem. After seeing images of Argentinean jerseys colored red with paint resembling blood, the Argentinean Football Association canceled the friendly match, citing safety concerns specifically for Messi.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, the international appeal body for sports disputes, expressed in a statement that Rajoub had indeed violated the FIFA Disciplinary Code by “inciting hatred and violence” and found that the punishment was “not disproportionate”.

Rajoub denied wrongdoing and expressed his view that the decision was politically motivated and thus unjust, especially since Israel had filed the complaint as opposed to the Argentineans. All these arguments were unilaterally struck down by the CAS.

Rajoub is concurrently under investigation for ethics violations related to statements he has made glorifying terrorism and inciting hatred and violence. The previously reported letter to FIFA’s Ethics Committee described many alleged examples of Rajoub’s continuous incitement, including this episode. Since the letter has been leaked, no new developments have been made on that front.

Rajoub’s repeated complaints to FIFA over the Israeli Football Association have received no traction, and it is becoming clear he is the one breaking the FIFA Disciplinary Code.