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Last Wednesday November 2nd, on the invitation of the Palestine football players a delegation of FIFPro (Philippe Piat, vice-president, and Theo van Seggelen, the secretary general of FIFPro), went to Ramallah, to meet the players’ representatives as well as the Palestine Football Association.

 

The Annual General Assembly of FIFPro being held in Tel Aviv sensitized the Palestine football players who used the occasion to meet FIFPro in the headquarters of their FA in Ramallah.

 

Ahmad Kashkash, playing for Al Amaari and captain of the national team, and Mustafa Abu Quaiq, defender playing for Al Bireh and capitain of the olympic team have been able to talk to representatives of the international federation of football players during more than one hour.

 

They advised FIFPro’s vice-president Piat and secretary general Van Seggelen of the lack of freedom of movement, not only affecting the football players but all sportsmen and sportswomen in Palestine, all indirect victims of a conflict that seems to be everlasting and that totally surpasses them at a time where sports are, here and elsewhere, an instrument for peace, brotherhood and education.

 

Professional football started off three years ago in Palestine, and, despite the obvious difficulties and the lack of means, the championship is flourishing. The national team, whilst it has not been able to enter the qualifying rounds for the next World championship in Brazil 2014, is making enormous progress, and anyone would agree to think that Palestine football will be able to make up for its current falling behind in whole or in part.

 

But currently, as the players told us, the main problem is the lack of freedom of movement. Something which really shocked the FIFPro delegation. 'This is a fundamental right of each citizen, a right which has also been established in the FIFA statutes and regulations', said Philippe Piat.

 

'That the players are not able to play where they want to play and when they want to play, that they are not able to defend the colours of their country, that they are not allowed to see their families, their friends… is totally unacceptable to us, as human beings, as union representatives. We do not know right now how, but it goes without saying, that we will help you, since you have expressed your wish to form an association and to become a member of FIFPro.'

 

'To us it is unthinkable that Lionel Messi would not be allowed to play with the Argentinian national team, that a player from The Netherlands would not be allowed to sign with an Italian club or a French club, that one of us would not be able to see his family and friends. What we do not accept elsewhere, we cannot accept it in Palestine either. There is no difference between professional football players, they are all equal, and they are all part of the same family. Our family, the family of FIFPro, but also the football family.’

 

For this reason Philippe Piat as well as Theo van Seggelen promised to help the Palestine football players, to support their claims, and to find, with all the good arguments, the solutions that will allow, the day of tomorrow, the footballers of this member country of FIFA to be footballers just as any other footballer in the world. To be human beings and workers just as anybody else.