FIFA suspends, fines Palestinian soccer boss for threats against Lionel Messi
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FIFA suspends, fines Palestinian soccer boss for threats against Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi shown with his Argentina national team teammates after a match against Brazil at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, June 9, 2017. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The FIFA soccer federation suspended the head of the Palestinian soccer body for threats against Argentinian star Lionel Messi.

Jibril Rajoub, who has long lobbied for action by FIFA against Israel, was suspended for a year on Friday by the body’s ethics committee in Switzerland, Ynet reported.

In June, he urged supporters to burn photos and player jerseys if Messi or his Argentinian national team were to show up for a scheduled friendly match against the Israeli national team in Jerusalem. Messi subsequently pulled out of the game and his team stayed away in what was widely seen as a major victory for the effort to boycott of Israel.

FIFA, which last year rejected indefinitely Rajoub’s repeated requests to discuss sanctions against Israel, opened an ethics hearing into his conduct, which the organization deemed an incitement to violence.

Rajoub was also fined to the tune of $20,000.