FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrote to the Israeli and Palestinian football federations on Friday, expressing his condolences for the “terrible violence” in a conflict last week that has claimed more than 2,700 lives and injured thousands more.
In the letter, first reported by Sky News, Infantino and world football’s governing body called for an “immediate end to hostilities and an end to the suffering of the people of both Israel and Palestine” and said football could be a “vehicle”. Peace.”
Infantino’s letter read: “It is heartbreaking, so shocking to see a region whose people have known so much pain for so long, suffer even more.
“Of course, we know that football cannot solve the world’s problems, but it can play even a small role in bringing a glimmer of hope where there is only darkness ahead,” added Infantino.
“Football shows that it is possible to bring people together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, acting as a vehicle for peace and, ultimately, reconciliation, even when it seemed impossible to all but a few.
“I want to emphasize that FIFA will do everything we can to assist you in your relief efforts and to restore peace and hope to your people now and in the future.”
UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin sent a similar letter to Israeli FA president Shino Moshe Juarez on Thursday, saying the “pain and sadness is deep and resonates throughout the football community.”
The letters came after Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza, launched an attack on Israel on Saturday. A day later, Israel officially declared war on Hamas.
UEFA has postponed Israel’s European Championship qualifiers against Switzerland and Kosovo due to be played on Thursday and Sunday respectively.
Israel will now play three Euro 2024 qualifiers in a one-week international break next month designed for just two matches.