Palestinian Territory - The International Olympic Committee and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) must take decisive action against Israel, to hold it accountable for the crimes against Palestinian athletes committed in the ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip that began on October 7.

At least 270 Palestinian athletes have been killed as a result of the continuing Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip, now in its eighth month. In addition, all sports facilities, infrastructure, and stadiums have been completely or seriously damaged.

The Israeli army deliberately turned the Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza City into a detention centre to hold and humiliate hundreds of Palestinians, including children, shown naked and stripped of their clothes in footage published by the Israeli media in December 2023.

International sports organisations must firmly condemn Israel's violations of civilian sports facilities and athletes in the Gaza Strip. In particular, FIFA will convene an extraordinary council meeting on July 20 to discuss whether to take action against the Israeli federation in response to the Palestinian Federation's request to suspend Israel's membership, which has the backing of the Asian Football Confederation.

In its continuing genocide in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army is targeting and killing hundreds of athletes and players in all the governorates there, demolishing the sports infrastructure, and converting some stadiums into mass graves, abuse centres, and detention spots, in blatant disregard of all regional, national, and international laws and conventions.

Israel has long targeted Palestinian sports and continues to do so in an effort to silence Palestinian voices and representation and to eliminate all Palestinian elites and experts in the Gaza Strip.

Thirty-one sports facilities, football fields, gyms, headquarters, and sports training halls appear to have been destroyed, accounting for over eighty percent of the stadium- and club-level sports facilities in the Gaza Strip.

This includes the destruction of the following stadiums: Yarmouk, Palestine, Mohammed Al-Durrah, Beit Hanoun, Al-Tuffah, Al-Shuja’iya, Al-Shati, Beit Lahia, Rafah, Deir al-Balah, and Nuseirat, in addition to the Khan Yunis Municipal Stadium.

In addition, the following facilities have been bulldozed and destroyed: 300 five-a-side courts, 22 swimming courts, 12 covered sports halls for basketball, volleyball, and handball, and six tennis stadiums. Twenty-eight sports and fitness centers have been targeted, damaged, and destroyed.

The Israeli military attack resulted in the cancellation of all sporting events, competitions, and activities, while hundreds of Gaza Strip athletes were denied their right to travel and represent Palestine in different international competitions.

The ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip must be addressed by FIFA, whose fundamental laws and disciplinary and ethical rules specifically forbid support for actions that violate international law and human rights, as made clear in Articles 2, 3, 5, and 47 of the Statutes as well as Article 5 of the Code of Conduct.

Failure to consider the Gaza Strip genocide would raise serious questions of double standards in FIFA's operations and policies. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, FIFA moved swiftly to impose a complete ban on Russia's participation in international competitions until further notice. FIFA decided to forbid Germany and Japan from competing in the tournament qualifiers prior to the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, citing World War II-related sanctions against them.

Looking ahead to the Thirty-Third Olympic Games, which will take place in Paris, France, from 26 July to 11 August, Gaza should be included in the Olympic Games' affirmations advocating for peace and highlighting the flame's symbolism of the Olympic Truce.