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FIFA ban Palestinian FA president for inciting violence against Lionel Messi

FIFA ban Palestinian FA president for inciting violence against Lionel Messi

- FIFA slam a 12-month ban on Jibril Rajoub for inciting violence against Lionel Messi

- Messi's shirts and pictures were burnt by fans before a friendly between Argentina and Israel

- The Palestinian FA has come in defence that the Argentine FA did not lodge a complaint

World football ruling body, FIFA has given the president of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub, a one-year suspension after he urged fans to burn Lionel Messi shirts and pictures.

Rajoub has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs (£15,826) for "inciting hatred and violence" coupled with the statements made before a proposed friendly between Argentina and Israel.

The match was due to take place few days to the start of the Russia 2018 World Cup in Jerusalem but was then cancelled.

FIFA has said Rajoub will not be able to attend football matches in any capacity.

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Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie had said he believed Messi and his team-mates "were not willing to play the game" against Israel.

The Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Argentina forward Messi and his team-mates, shortly after the match was cancelled,.

"What happened... is a red card from the rest of the world to Israelis," Rajoub told a news conference, having earlier accused Israel of using the match as a "political tool".

The Israel FA said it viewed "with severity the physical and brutal threats, which crossed every red line, made by" the Palestinian football boss

The Israeli FA also vowed to "do everything in its power in the world football institutions to make Rajoub and the Palestinian FA accountable".

Meanwhile, the Palestinian FA expressed its "utmost surprise" at the decision, which it claims is "unproportionate, absurd, and lacking in evidence".

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It questioned FIFA's decision to impose the maximum penalty, as well as the fact neither Messi nor the Argentine Football Association made any complaint.

It claims a "predisposition to ban Rajoub" following the complaint by the Israel Football Association and "some settler extremist group" who "reside, illegally, in the Palestinian occupied territories" and who have based their accusations on media statements made by Rajoub to a Lebanese media channel in 2013.

The Palestinian FA say it will now "pursue this issue to the last possible legal venue".

Meanwhile, had earlier reported that a friendly game between Argentina and Israel in preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup meant to take place at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem has been cancelled.

This is owing to Palestinian Arab pressure resulting from clashes between Israeli authorities and Palestinians.

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