Saudi-sponsored South West Asian Football Federation created
Story Code : 724839
The oil-rich kingdom initiated the creation of SWAFF after Jordanian President of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Prince Ali bin Hussein, dismissed Saudi officials’ request to move the headquarters of the regional sports group from Jordan to Saudi Arabia.
SWAFF was formed late last week by a merger of the West Asian and South Asian football federations during a ceremony in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.
Saudi sports czar Turki al-Sheikh, a close associate of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has also been appointed as its honorary president.
“The South West Asian Association aims to develop the sport in Asia and hold many tournaments and events on an annual basis,” SWAFF said in a news release.
The member nations are Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Kuwait, the Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
It has left out almost half of WAFF members, including Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. It has also not included South Asia’s Nepal and Bhutan.
Saudi Arabia’s regional power-grabbing efforts have also raised eyebrows among major Asian soccer federations, including Iran and Qatar.
Palestine’s exclusion from SWAFF points to Saudi Arabia’s warming ties with the Tel Aviv regime at the expense of the Palestinian cause and nation as a whole.
Israel’s Hebrew-language Channel 10 television network, citing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reported on April 30 that the Riyadh regime’s de facto ruler had said that Palestinians should either accept peace proposals or "shut up."
“For the past 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities again and again, and rejected all the offers it was given,” he said. “It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers, and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining."
Bin Salman also said that the subject of Palestinian is not currently on top of the Saudi government's agenda.
“There are much more urgent and more important issues to deal with — such as Iran,” he added.
Back in late March, the Saudi Crown Prince met with the leaders of a number of pro-Israeli lobbying groups, namely the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Stand Up for Israel (ADL), the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Presidents' Conference, B'nai B'rith and the American Jewish Committee (AJC), during his tour of the United States.