After the completion of the WBPL Week 15 fixtures Mahmoud announced the names of his squad that would be traveling to the UAE training camp later this week. Surprisingly all players previously registered with Israeli Football Association had been omitted from the squad. The following players listed in the preliminary squad: Atef Abu Bilal, Husam Abu Saleh, Haitham Dheeb, Ahmed Harbi, and Mohammed Jamal.
Did Ali El-Khatib’s controversial move affect the way the PFA does business?
[UPDATE]: Ma’an News is reporting that four of the five players with IFA registration cards will indeed be included in the Challenge Cup squad. Husam Abu Saleh, Ahmed Harbi, and Mohammed Jamal will make the trip to the UAE. Whilst Haitham Dheeb will join up in Nepal.
Football Palestine suspects but cannot confirm (partly due to the fact that the PFA has yet to issue a statement) that FIFA put a clamp on the dual registry scheme run by the PFA. Every player entering the WBPL for the first time is issued a new Palestinian registration card if he is registered with the IFA. Ali El-Khatib’s move to Hapoel Haifa last month put the system to the test for the first time. The player was under contract with Jabal Al-Mukaber at the time but his original registration card was in the hands of the IFA.
Jabal Al-Mukaber took the case to a Tel Aviv district court and upon losing vowed to take the matter up with FIFA.
It seems that there may only be one route to cap Arab-Israelis with IFA registration cards which would mean establishing some form of communication with the Israeli body. Bizarrely, despite Jibril Rajoub meeting with his Israeli Olympic counterpart last winter there remains to no official contact.
This leads to the inevitable question- Why is there no contact between the two bodies? It is strange that the Palestinian Authority is willing to cooperate with Israel on serious matters- such as security- but not football. The PFA would seemingly have everything to gain- in terms of potential national team players- and nothing to lose in establishing a formal relationship with the IFA. After all, recognizing one’s FA is not akin to recognizing their sovereignty, just ask Scotland (Although the PA already recognizes Israel so this should be a non-issue).