FIFA wants action on hunger striking player
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Tue June 12, 2012
Palestine footballer Mahmoud Sarsak has been in prison in Israel since 2009.
- FIFA president Sepp Blatter calls for IFA to act on imprisoned Palestine players
- Mahmoud Sarsak has been in jail in Israel since June 2009
- Sarsak has been on hunger strike in protest against his continued incarceration
- FIFPro calls the situation an "injustice" and call for Sarsak's release
(CNN) -- The president of soccer's global governing body has urged the Israeli Football Association (IFA) to intervene in the case of a hunger striking Palestinian footballer.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter "expressed grave concern" regarding the incarceration of members of the Palestine team in Israel, including Mahmoud Sarsak who is on hunger strike.
"The reports FIFA received state that in apparent violation of their integrity and human rights and without the apparent right of a due process (trial), several Palestine football players have allegedly been illegally detained by Israeli authorities," read a statement on the organization's website.
"FIFA urgently calls on IFA to draw the attention of the Israeli competent authorities to the present matter, with the aim of ensuring the physical integrity of the concerned players as well as their right for due process."
FIFA urgently calls on IFA to draw the attention of the Israeli competent authorities to the present matter
The global organization which represents professional footballers FIFPro has called for the immediate release of Sarsak, who has been imprisoned since being arrested at a checkpoint while attempting to enter the West Bank in June 2009..
"FIFPro, the voice of all professional footballers in the world, demands that Mahmoud Sarsak be released from prison," said the release on FIFPro's website.
"The 25-year-old footballer has not eaten for 85 days and has lost approximately thirty kilos in weight. According to human rights organization Addameer the situation of Mahmoud is critical.
"FIFPro is deeply concerned about Sarsak's health and about his imprisonment and therefore asks for his release from jail."
FIFPro's vice-president Philippe Piat described Sarsak's situation as an "injustice."
"The freedom of movement is a fundamental right of every citizen," said Piat. "It is also written down in the FIFA Regulations that players must be allowed to play for the national team of their country.
"But actually for some footballers it is impossible to defend the colors of their country. They cannot cross the border. They cannot visit their family. They are locked up."
The Israeli Embassy in London was not immediately available for comment.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
In Brazil many believe the World Cup has seen the rich line their pockets, while the poor make do with crumbling public services.
No European team has ever won a World Cup in South America, but that could likely change next year, says CNN's John Sinnott.
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Fri June 14, 2013
Brazil's fans were ready to celebrate a first World Cup triumph, but what happened next has left a burning scar in the nation's psyche.
NN World Sport examines why racism continues to be a problem in football and what is being done to tackle discrimination.
updated 8:07 AM EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
Germany's Under-21s may bowed out of the European Championship Finals in Israel, but their experiences left a lasting impression.
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
CNN's James Masters has had a close look at the next generation of European football stars at the U21 championship in Israel.
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Thu June 6, 2013
A former Palestinian player, once held without charge for three years, is campaigning for a boycott of Israel's staging of a major European tournament.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
When Germany's two biggest soccer clubs go head-to-head in the Champions League final, there can only be one winner: German industry.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
The Bundesliga model of sustainability is very much in vogue. But are Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund creating a dangerous duopoly?
updated 6:15 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
CNN takes an exclusive look at the venue of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
David Beckham embraced his tag as a "gay icon" and has been credited with breaking the big taboo -- homosexuality in football.
updated 3:50 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
'King' Alex Ferguson is quitting Manchester United but the $3.17 billion brand will survive, according to experts.
updated 10:18 AM EDT, Tue May 7, 2013
Italian football lags behind its other European rivals commercially, but newly-crowned Italian champions Juventus is showing Serie A clubs an example of revival.
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Luis Suarez's biting of Branislav Ivanovic is the latest episode of moments of madness when soccer stars behave badly.
updated 5:38 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
Sunderland's partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation is part of its bid to woo the African market.
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Each year as many as 700 Cameroonian young footballers leave Africa in search of a professional career abroad.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Mon May 6, 2013
Referees across Europe are feeling the heat. Insulted, threatened, chased off the field, attacked, hospitalized and, tragically, killed.
updated 7:25 AM EST, Tue February 26, 2013
Footballers have a battery of physios, fitness trainers and doctors all striving to fine-tune their physique -- but are they missing a trick?
updated 6:41 AM EDT, Mon June 10, 2013
Hardcore Italian football "ultra" Federico is a Lazio supporter who happily admits directing monkey chants at black players.