Sepp Blatter’s “mission of peace”: FIFA president trying to solve soccer problems between Israel and Palestine


The self-proclaimed “godfather of women’s soccer” is bringing his expertise to foreign relations.

On the list of people who can bring a sense of peace to the Middle East, I’d place Sepp Blatter somewhere near the bottom.

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But that hasn’t stop FIFA’s head honcho from claiming he’s the man for the job, at least when it comes to tensions between Israel and Palestine.

It will not be easy. Palestine has asked that Israel be suspended from FIFA, claiming that “Israeli security restrictions are limiting movement of Palestinian players, visiting teams and soccer equipment.”

From the Associated Press:

But Blatter, who fashions himself as a peacemaker, said he hoped to reach a quick solution to the crisis and perhaps even spark further cooperation between the sides.

“Football is more than a game. Football has the power to connect people. Football has the power to construct bridges,” he said. “Football shall unite people and not divide people.”

Israel has rejected the Palestinian bid as an attempt to politicize sports. Eini said his organization has done its best to assist Palestinian soccer and will continue to do so, but that many issues were beyond its control and needed to be resolved at a political level.

Blatter is against the vote, and has proposed a solution: a “peace match” in Zurich between the two sides. This, to some, will seem insane. And by some, we mean many. For what it’s worth, Israel accepted the offer.

It’s a political story, so we won’t go any further. But if Sepp Blatter honestly believes he can use soccer to bridge the gap between Palestine and Israel, well, that’s something even wilder than proposing women’s players wear tighter shorts.