Skip to main content

FIFA wants action on hunger striking player

June 12, 2012 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
Palestine footballer Mahmoud Sarsak has been in prison in Israel since 2009.
Palestine footballer Mahmoud Sarsak has been in prison in Israel since 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA president Sepp Blatter calls for IFA to act on imprisoned Palestine players
  • Mahmoud Sarsak has been in jail in Israel since June 2009
  • Sarsak has been on hunger strike in protest against his continued incarceration
  • FIFPro calls the situation an "injustice" and call for Sarsak's release

(CNN) -- The president of soccer's global governing body has urged the Israeli Football Association (IFA) to intervene in the case of a hunger striking Palestinian footballer.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter "expressed grave concern" regarding the incarceration of members of the Palestine team in Israel, including Mahmoud Sarsak who is on hunger strike.

"The reports FIFA received state that in apparent violation of their integrity and human rights and without the apparent right of a due process (trial), several Palestine football players have allegedly been illegally detained by Israeli authorities," read a statement on the organization's website.

"FIFA urgently calls on IFA to draw the attention of the Israeli competent authorities to the present matter, with the aim of ensuring the physical integrity of the concerned players as well as their right for due process."

FIFA urgently calls on IFA to draw the attention of the Israeli competent authorities to the present matter
FIFA statement

The global organization which represents professional footballers FIFPro has called for the immediate release of Sarsak, who has been imprisoned since being arrested at a checkpoint while attempting to enter the West Bank in June 2009..

"FIFPro, the voice of all professional footballers in the world, demands that Mahmoud Sarsak be released from prison," said the release on FIFPro's website.

"The 25-year-old footballer has not eaten for 85 days and has lost approximately thirty kilos in weight. According to human rights organization Addameer the situation of Mahmoud is critical.

"FIFPro is deeply concerned about Sarsak's health and about his imprisonment and therefore asks for his release from jail."

FIFPro's vice-president Philippe Piat described Sarsak's situation as an "injustice."

"The freedom of movement is a fundamental right of every citizen," said Piat. "It is also written down in the FIFA Regulations that players must be allowed to play for the national team of their country.

"But actually for some footballers it is impossible to defend the colors of their country. They cannot cross the border. They cannot visit their family. They are locked up."

The Israeli Embassy in London was not immediately available for comment.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT