Israel FA unlikely to be banned, suggests Blatter

Sepp Blatter has moved to play down rumours the Israel Football Association could be banned after talks in the country and Palestine.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has distanced his organisation from reports the Israel Football Association could face a suspension over its treatment of Palestinians.

Blatter has spent two days in Israel and Palestine in an attempt to separate football from political tensions.

Palestine's football authorities hit out at Israel playing fixtures in Jerusalem earlier this year, while the Palestinian Football Association has accused Israeli counterparts of allowing "humiliating treatment at the border by relevant Israeli authorities" and "violent acts by Israeli security forces during football matches… under the authority of the Palestinian National Authority".

Blatter has announced a number of measures set to be implemented in an attempt to ease the tensions, but stopping Israel from playing football will not be one of them.

A Blatter statement on FIFA's official website read: "I had constructive meetings with the Palestine political and football authorities.

"We all agree football should unite not divide. I came on a mission for peace – football should foster peace and leave politics aside. Based on my talks over the last two days, I remain confident, despite the challenging situation, that we should be able to find a solution in the interests of football and all parties involved ahead of the Congress.

"We discussed how we can tackle the issue of the mobility of Palestinian players and football officials.

"We'll promote a regular exchange between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities through a working group with the participation of FIFA that should meet on a monthly basis. 

"As FIFA President, I do not see that a suspension of an association is a solution."