The cardinal rule at FIFA, the one inviolate principle, has always been that they don't engage in politics.
Unfortunately for them, and perhaps ultimately for all of us, politics is now refusing to return the favor.
And to the extent that it was ever really true to begin with - which is more than a little debatable - after Thursday they probably won't even be able to make the claim any longer.
The first thing you need to note about this week's Gala FIFA Congress and associated whorefest in Manama, Bahrain is that it was supposed to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The hosting site had to be changed when the government refused to allow representatives of the Israel FA into their pristine little nation.
Noting in passing that they had no problems whatsoever with, say, the North Korean concentration camp monitors, Iranian homosexual executors or Sierra Leonean Blood Diamond child slavers - to say nothing of the guys who seem to have founded "settlements" in the Crimea - I'll only point out that Amnesty International, for one, has some things to say about human rights abuse much closer to Malaysia than the Palatinate.
MUCH closer, if you get my drift.
Anyway, the Asian Confederation offered up Bahrain as a substitute and before you could say "imprisoned, deported, and tortured for defaming the Bahraini regime", the most expensive restaurants in Manama were bringing in additional foreign slaves to handle the anticipated extra business.
All of which serves as the prelude to the explosion of a time bomb which started ticking in 1974 when the AFC voted to expel the Israel FA. For the next 20 years, the IFA was not affiliated with any Confederation, although they did participate in occasional, awkward World Cup qualifiers against various regions including, oddly, Oceania one time.
Finally, in 1992 UEFA, under President Lennart Johansson, admitted the IFA to what is nominally Europe's Confederation. While this might seem to be something of a reach, I'd point out that UEFA has several "trans-continental" members, (including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Russia) and includes at least one other "Asian" nation (Kazakhstan).
At the time it was a fairly non-controversial move; everybody needs to be part of a confederation, Israelis more or less culturally European, Asian teams refused to play them any time, anywhere and they were - are - never likely to cause many European national team managers a lot of sleepless nights.
Argentina they ain't.
Which brings us to the current problem, which is that on Thursday the FIFA Congress will most likely be asked to, in effect, toss Israel out.
You may recall that, a few years back, there was a huge kerfuffle over "free movement" for Palestinian players and officials across Israeli checkpoints. Not that there was a blanket ban or anything like it but players and - particularly - team officials kept showing up a databases of "dangerous hombres" (to borrow a phrase) and the border police would deny them crossing.
The PFA stomped around demanding that Israel be sanctioned or suspended for this gross violation of blah, blah, blah and, much to his credit, Sepp Blatter and his technical staff did an absolutely superb job working with both sides - nobody AT ALL was completely in the right - to come up with compromise procedures that everybody could live with.
So that's not the problem they're facing today.
Technically, the new resolution submitted by the Palestinian Football Association is called "Request for official recognition of the PFA's entitlements to all of its rights as described in the FIFA Statutes" and, unless FIFA President Gianni Infantino is successful in his frantic efforts to get them to withdraw the motion, it will be voted on by the entire membership sometime Thursday afternoon.
Specifically, the "right" the PFA wants FIFA to grant them is the one contained in article 72.2 of the FIFA Statutes: “Member associations and their clubs may not play on the territory of another member association.”
And the Israel FA currently sanctions six teams which play in what world famous empty suit John Kerry would pull a very somber face and sonorously declare to be "settlements".
The PFA wants FIFA to declare these to be illegal and immediately sanction and/or expel Israel unless they move or shut them down. The fact that Palestine, whatever else it may be, is not an actual nation and thus has no internationally agreed upon borders to violate cuts no mustard.
For their part, the IFA points out that the settlements in question (Kiryat Arba, Givat Zeev, Maaleh Adumim, Ariel, Oranit and Tomer, if you're interested) were built in Area C of the occupied West Bank, where, according to the Oslo accords, Israel has full security and administrative control and should not be deemed unlawful.
Trying to argue this on the merits has been driving far better people than I crazy for decades, and I'm not even going to try, except to say that a) it's just some (very) minor league soccer games (NPSL would be a fair analogy) played before virtually nobody and, really, who gives a crap and b) despite what the PFA is loudly proclaiming, this is not a violation of anyone's "human rights". It's just some guys running around in short pants sweating out the beer.
Some will undoubtedly see it otherwise. Fair enough.
FIFA has been working mightily to defuse this particular bomb for years now as the PFA has repeatedly threatened to bring a motion to the floor, as is the right of every federation, almost every time a Congress has been held.
A year ago, at the Infantino election, they fully intended to do just that and were only talked down when even their AFC partners, all of whom are more or less in their corner, convinced them that the optics were terrible what with FIFA trying to emerge from the all the scandals and needing happy, positive headlines.
Back in 2015, Blatter did a typically Blatterish thing and established a high level committee to investigate the issues and come up with a solution. Our old pal Tokyo Sexwale was named Chairman, based on his ever-handy association with Nelson Mandela and their shared prison yard at Robben Island SA. He's all about the human rights.
Coincidentally, his committee's charter expires this week. They've met and traveled and consulted and traveled and met and met and met. In fact, Sexwale met with both sides (separately) last week and was scheduled to meet with them again today.
Nobody can say the guy hasn't tried, but the fact is that mediating Middle East peace is a problem which has stumped the worlds finest minds for several generations now. Our man Tokyo can hardly be blamed for not cracking it.
Many observers - Human Rights Watch among them - are pointing to the example of the Russian invasion of the Crimea as a corollary. The Russian FA under the ubiquitous Valeri Mutko, Boy Steroid King, immediately folded the three Crimean professional teams into the Russian second division. FIFA and UEFA refused to accept this and, as a result, Russia created a new Crimean league with the three old teams and five (formerly amateur) ones and made it a FIFA third division league.
(There is no truth to the rumor that the Sevastopol Cosmos immediately threatened to sue over being denied the right to play in a first division or that Ted Westerveltovich has begun a campaign to allow promotion/relegation as the only path to Crimean football success).
It's hard to find fault in the position taken by a German cross-party group (the Green Party’s Volker Beck, Gitta Connemann from the Christian Democratic Union, Michaele Englemeier and Kerstin Griese from the Social Democrats and Jan Korte from the Left Party) who wrote to Infantino this week saying, in part:
“The announcement by the president of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, after a failed attempt in 2015, to again submit an application to exclude the Israel Football Association, shows he is misusing the sport for his own personal ideology."
“It is important that FIFA recognize that the entire Palestinian- Israeli question should be examined as a political whole whose solution cannot be a function of sport....
“The glorification of terrorism by the use of racism, antisemitism and discrimination of Israel’s teams undermines the sustainability of the FIFA statutes that call for a fair and peaceful sport..."
"Sport should not be misused as a political game"
For his part, PFA President Rajoub has no business lecturing anyone on human rights.
He's the former head of the Palestinian Authorities' Secret Police and would still be serving a prison sentence for bombings if he hadn't been included in a prisoner exchange.
He regularly names soccer competitions in honor of famous Jew killers such as PLO founder Khalil al-Wazir who, according to Palestinian sources, was behind the deaths of more than 120 Israelis, lauded recent terror attacks as “individual acts of bravery” and noted that “he is proud” of the perpetrators, openly compares Israeli Jews to "Satan" and publicly encourages and applauds the abduction and murder of Israeli citizens.
And that leaves aside the inconvenient $250 million US lawsuit which was recently filed by the family of one Azam Rahim, a Palestinian-American who, on September 29, 1995 was arrested by Preventive Security officials under Rajoub's orders, taken to a security facility and tortured to death.
This is the guy we're supposed to take lectures on morality from.
The FIFA Council will reportedly review Sexwale's findings today but there's not much chance of them holding any kind of a vote. They're lazy, overpaid stooges but they're not crazy.
Infantino is reportedly working his ass off to find a way to avoid holding a vote on Thursday. If he's unsuccessful, then we'll get to see a rare occurrence indeed:
Sunil Gulati locking himself in a men's room. He may have a lot of company.