- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - FIFA’s decision to move the Palestinian team’s World Cup qualifying match against Saudi Arabia to a neutral site was “unjust and reprehensible,” the head of the Palestinian Football Union said Tuesday

Jibril Rajoub accused FIFA of bowing to Saudi pressure by agreeing to relocate the second-leg Oct. 13 match from the West Bank to neighboring Jordan.

In a letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Rajoub said he was “shocked” by the decision after the first leg was held in Riyadh.

“Resorting to FIFA in this way reflects insistence on not coming to Palestine under any circumstances,” Rajoub told The Associated Press, “The Palestinian Union will use all legal and international tools to revoke this injustice.”

FIFA said the decision was “final and binding,” leaving the Palestinians to decide whether to play in Jordan or forfeit the match.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation commended FIFA for accepting its request - saying it “understands the justification” - without explaining the reasons behind it.

The Palestinians accuse Saudi Arabia of being wary of appearing too close to Israel by going through its security. Saudi Arabia has shared Israel’s concern over Iran’s regional influence and its nuclear program but has stopped short of cooperating with it openly.

Tayseer Nasrallah, a spokesman for the Palestinian union, said the Palestinians had offered the Saudis options of bypassing Israel, including flying the players in from Jordan by helicopters but said the Saudis refused for “political considerations.”

He accused the Saudi football association of “turning a sport issue into a political issue.”

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