Tokyo Sexwale. Picture: TIMES MEDIA LIMITED
Tokyo Sexwale. Picture: TIMES MEDIA LIMITED

BUSINESSMAN Tokyo Sexwale is in Palestine to discuss racism in sport in his capacity as the president of the antiracism campaign, Global Watch.

Global Watch is a brainchild of Mr Sexwale and is supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the African National Congress as well as several other organisations and groups.

Mr Sexwale said on Tuesday his visit to Palestine is a "fact finding mission to understand the problems that are prevailing around sporting issues in particular in reference to Palestinians and Israel and where we can play a role as Global Watch".

"It is unacceptable that a situation prevails within Palestine and between Israel of hostility that also finds itself on the sporting field. (I will) have initial discussions with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Football Association to understand what their objectives are, what their feelings are … it’s a fact finding and also a listening exercise".

Mr Sexwale was invited to Palestine by Palestine Football Association president Jibril Rajoub.

Mr Rajoub is due to seek Israel’s suspension from the world football’s governing body Fifa later this month. The grounds for the bid to suspend Israel from Fifa are the restrictions that the country allegedly places on Palestinian footballers, particularly on the movement between Gaza and the West Bank.

Mr Rajoub has reportedly said he "would not make concessions" because nothing has improved in the way Israel is "persecuting Palestine footballers, athletes and the movement of sporting equipment ... enough is enough … Israel is still behaving like the neighbourhood bully, or worse."

According to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper the Israeli football association is confident that Fifa will not accept the Palestine request that Israel be suspended.

"The Israeli FA believes that Fifa and Sepp Blatter (Fifa president) at its helm, and the heads of the various federations and associations will not permit a move which seeks to mix sport and politics in a manner that is completely opposed to the principles of the organisation and the aims of the game," the Israel Football Association was quoted as saying by the newspaper last month.

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