FIFA bans Palestinian football chief Jibril Rajoub for inciting Messi hatred
FIFA has banned the head of the Palestinian Football Association from attending football games for a year for inciting hatred and violence toward Lionel Messi.
Argentina's football association cancelled the planned warm up match against Israel in June after facing harsh criticism over the game from pro-Palestine activists and Palestinian officials.
The Arab League had also urged Argentina to cancel the match, which was set to take place on the site of a Palestinian village in Jerusalem destroyed in the 1948 war.
Jibril Rajoub had called on Palestinian and Arab football fans to burn Messi posters and shirts if he participated in the Argentina game in Israel.
Israel's football association later announced that it planned to file a complaint to FIFA accusing its Palestinian counterpart of pressuring Argentinian players and staff into cancelling a friendly match.
FIFA's disciplinary committee cited comments by the Palestinian FA president "calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi."
Rajoub is banned from attending any football matches in an official capacity for 12 months from Friday.
After the friendly match was cancelled, the Palestinian FA thanked Messi and his colleagues, saying "the Palestinian FA thanks Argentina's players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal."
The match was due to be played amid a tense political backdrop.
On 14 May, Israel massacred at least 61 Palestinians in Gaza as demonstrators protested against the US transfer of its embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem.
The demonstrations were part of a wave of unarmed protests which began in March to call for an end to the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demand the right of return for Palestinians refugees.
Israel has killed at least 170 Palestinians in Gaza since demonstrations began.