FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Tuesday has expressed his concerns about about the deteriorating situation in Gaza as he held talks with the head of the Palestinian Football Association.
The FIFA president was speaking amid growing concerns over the growing death toll in Palestine.
“I am very much concerned with this situation in the region. We are heartbroken to learn that people from the football community have been killed. FIFA and I personally deplore this situation and any form of violence,” Blatter said.
“We are united in hoping for peace in this region and across the world,” the global game’s chief added.
Palestine Football Association president Jibril Rajub met Blatter at FIFA’s headquarters whilst attending a session of the International Olympic Committee.
“I appreciate the commitment of the FIFA President to develop and invest in football in Palestine, despite the difficulties we face,” Rajub said in a statement.
“We believe football should remain a tool to build bridges between people. I am very saddened by the loss of Palestinian life in the current conflict but I am still optimistic that peace will prevail,” he said.
The aim was to improve relations between the two bodies and to prevent a repeat of the problems encountered at an international youth tournament hosted by the Palestinians in 2013, when players were denied entry by Israel.
The Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel of trying to undermine the game’s development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel, meanwhile, claims Palestinian militants have employed football facilities as a base from where they have fired rockets.