FIFA urges Israel to help jailed Palestine player

Female Palestinian protestors hold pictures of jailed Palestinian

Female Palestinian protestors hold pictures of jailed Palestinian football player Mahmud Sarsak (R) and prisoners Akram Rikhawi (C) and Samir al-Baraka during a demonstrating in front of Ofer prison, near the city of Ramallah, in solidarity with the three Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel and still on hunger strike. (June 11, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

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ZURICH -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called on Israel soccer leaders to "urgently" help a Palestine player on hunger strike in Israeli custody.

Blatter has written to the Israel Football Association of his "grave concern" after receiving reports that "several Palestine football players have allegedly been illegally detained." Blatter asks IFA President Avi Luzon to intervene with Israeli authorities with "utmost urgency" because of the "alarming situation" facing Mahmoud Sarsak.

Sarsak is reported to have been on hunger strike for almost three months.

Palestine officials and global players' union FIFPro says Sarsak has been held without trial since 2009.

They say he was stopped at a Gaza Strip checkpoint while traveling to an international match.

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