FIFA e-mail exchanges regarding Israeli racism
1—Israel vs. South Africa
From: Greg Felton
Sent: Friday 1 June 2012
Subject: Racism in Football

Dear FIFA:

In October 1964, FIFA expelled South Africa over its Apartheid policy toward Blacks. Recently, FIFA has launched a new anti-racism initiative. Given these two facts, why will FIFA not expel Israel, since it is an openly racist/Apartheid state, and has been called so by Israeli politicians.

Does this omission not prove that FIFA has a double standard toward racism?

Please be advised that I know the terms under which Israel was admitted to UEFA.

I look forward to your answer.

Best regards,

Greg Felton

Sent: Tuesday 19 June 2012
To: Greg Felton
Conversation: Racism in Football
Subject: RE: Racism in Football

Dear Greg,

We sent you the media advisory and answered another question from you last Tuesday, but apparently not your original email from 1 June. We apologise for the delay.

Please note that FIFA, as football's world governing body, deals with football matters and with its member associations, which are the national football associations in each country/territory. All of FIFA's member associations have to comply with the FIFA Statutes (, and we have no indication that the Israel Football Association is not complying with the statutes.

The case of 1964 which you mention was different, as the South African football association was at that time not complying with the FIFA Statutes.

FIFA’s position is unequivocally clear: There is no place in football for racism or for any form of discrimination. FIFA is actively committed to fighting against all kinds of discrimination within football and within society as a whole.

Best regards,
FIFA Media department

2a—General principles and Israel being the host for UEFA’s U-21 championship
From: Greg Felton
Sent: Friday 30 March 2012
Subject: Racism in UEFA

Dear UEFA:

I note that in July 2006, UEFA instituted a new anti-racism policy in football. Based on this fact, I would like answers to the following questions: 

1. What has been UEFA’s reaction to the recent display of overt racism by Jews in Jerusalem shouting “Death to Arabs!” and what  if any sanctions are planned, given that the conduct of fans reflects on the country and its teams? 

2. Why did UEFA award the venue for the U-21 championship to Israel, given its overt racist conduct toward Palestinians? Please explain how this decision fits with this 2002 statement from FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter: “Racism is a blight that we must eradicate forcefully and resolutely. Football has a unifying power that can and must be used to combat discrimination of all kinds.” 

3. What would it take for UEFA to expel Israel from European competition? (Please bear in mind, that I know why UEFA made a special exception to admit Israel for membership.) When considering this answer please make reference to Article 10 paragraph 4, of the Regulations pertaining to the 2010 World Cup: “The participating member associations and their delegations shall comply with the FIFA Statutes, the Disciplinary Code and the Code of Ethics, in particular in matters regarding the fight against discrimination and racism.” 

Thank you for your help.


Greg Felton

Sent: Wednesday 4 April 2012
To: Greg Felton
Subject: Racism in UEFA

On 4/10/12 9:08 AM, “” wrote:

Dear Sir,

UEFA operates a zero tolerance policy towards racism and is against any kind of discrimination both on and off the pitch.

We are determined to do our utmost to eradicate this scourge from football and are working closely with organisations such as FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe <outbind://71/>) to reach that goal. In order to do this, UEFA has notably put in place a specific article in its Disciplinary Regulations (article 11bis) covering all forms of discrimination whether by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin and fixing a minimum penalty fine of EUR 20,000.

However, the instances you are referring to are not in UEFA football competitions.

As has been expressed in many occasions, UEFA is of the opinion that football—and sport in general—are building bridges between nations and communities and that political matters should not interfere with the practice of the game.

We are therefore committed to offer [sic] all of our 53 member associations—including the Israeli FA—their national teams, clubs and supporters, the opportunity to host final tournaments and participate in the development of football across Europe.

Kind regards,

UEFA Media Services

[my emphasis]

COMMENT: The first two paragraphs of FIFA’s response (right) are generic boilerplate that have nothing to do with my questions. The bolded statements are contradicted below.
2b—The same continued
From: Greg Felton
Sunday 15 April 2012
Subject: Re: Attn: Lars (re: Racism in UEFA)

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your responses but you still did not address the main one:

1. You state that the instances I refer to are not UEFA football competitions, yet the U-21 championship to which I refer is a UEFA competition, according to a UEFA press release: Israel chosen as hosts for UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2013 ( How do you explain this inconsistency?

The U-21 championship is indeed a UEFA competition but there have been no instances of discrimination/racism in this competition in relation to the final tournament being hosted in Israel.

2.  Also, there now appears to be a contradiction. You admit, contrary to your earlier answer, that UEFA did award Israel the U21 Championship and did so to “[develop] football in the region and to [unify]. the local communities”, yet in question 5 you claim “football does not have the power to change the world.” Which communities are you referring to, and how is this award to Israel not an attempt to change the world? If by “unifying local communities” you mean Israel, how does this not represent a instance of UEFA ”shirking its local responsibilities” to combat racism, even Israeli racism?

Football does not have the power to change the world but it can at least try to initiating [sic] such changes in some fields of society.

Please answer specifically without reference to previous generic press releases.

Thank you,


Greg Felton

COMMENT: FIFA appended brief comments to my questions (italics) rather than respond fully.