Offside? Challenging the Transnational Legality of Israeli Football Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
In: Duval, A. & Kassoti, E. (eds.), ‘The Legality of Economic Activities in Occupied Territories: International, EU Law and Business and Human Rights Perspectives’, Routledge (2020)
23 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 7, 2020
In 1998 the FIFA welcomed the Palestinian Football Association as part of its members - allegedly, as an attempt by then FIFA President, the Brazilian João Havelange, to showcase football as an instrument of peace between Israeli and Palestinians. Ironically, almost 20 years after Palestine’s anointment into the FIFA family, instead of peace it is the conflict between Israeli and Palestinians that moved to FIFA. In recent years the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and the Israeli Football Association (IFA) have been at loggerheads inside FIFA over the fate - I will refer to it as the transnational legality – of five (and then six) football clubs affiliated to the IFA which are physically located in the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This chapter chronicles the legal intricacies of this conflict, which will serve as a backdrop to discuss arguments raised regarding the legality of business activities of corporations connected to the Israeli settlements. Indeed, as will be shown in the first part of this chapter, the discussion on the legality of economic activities in the OPT has recently taken a business and human rights turn involving systematic targeting of corporations by activists. Interestingly, we will see that this business and human rights turn also played a role in the conflict between the IFA and the PFA. This case study is therefore an opportunity to examine how the strategy of naming and shaming private corporations, and in our case not-for-profit associations, for their direct or indirect business involvement in the settlements has fared. It is also an occasion to critically assess the strength of the human rights ‘punch’ added to the lex sportiva, by the UNGPs.
Keywords: fifa, occupied palestinian territories, court of arbitration for sport, lex sportiva, transnational law, business and human rights, ungp’s, human rights, occupied territories
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation