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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 7, 2006

FIFA considering action over Israeli airstrike

ZURICH, Switzerland -- FIFA said Friday it is considering possible action over an Israeli airstrike last week on a soccer field in the Gaza Strip.

Jerome Champagne, FIFA deputy general secretary in charge of political issues, said it was a direct strike "without any reason" and that the field was not being used by Palestinians as a missile launching pad, as Israel's ambassador to Switzerland had originally claimed.

"We have just asked for explanations," Champagne said in a telephone interview. "FIFA has been fighting for more than a century to make this game universal. To hit a football field is really the wrong signal."

Champagne said he had already discussed the matter with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and that a decision would likely be announced early next week. He declined to elaborate on what possible action it could take against Israel.

"Football should remain outside of politics," Champagne added.

No casualties were reported in the airstrike, which reportedly left a large crater in the field. The Israeli military said there had not been any rocket fire from the soccer field, but that the airstrike was part of an effort to deter possible attacks after an increase in rocket launches from Gaza.