FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Tuesday that Israel’s normalization of its relations with some Arab countries – the so-called “Abraham Accords” – would allow it to host the World Cup with Arab neighbors.
Infantino gave a speech during his first visit to Israel, at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem.
The FIFA head considered that the agreements to normalize relations that took place last year with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco under the auspices of the previous US administration might allow for joint cooperation in the region to host football tournaments.
Infantino indicated that the federation is looking into the issue of expanding the annual tournaments that are held for men and women, and this may give Israel the opportunity to host one of the tournaments jointly with others. “Why can’t we carry a World Cup organized by Israel and its neighbors?” asked the president of the Federation. He added, “With the Abraham agreements, why don’t we organize the tournament here in Israel and with its neighbors and the Palestinians?”
Infantino praised the Israeli team for playing “Arabs and Jews together,” noting that it is an example of the coexistence that the game can provide.
FIFA was widely criticized for its first attempt to revive a tournament in the region and award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. The move was criticized over Qatar’s human rights record and widespread allegations of corruption in securing the event.
The Israeli-Canadian businessman Sylvan Adams had also indicated from the Museum of Tolerance that he had adopted a campaign calling on FIFA to hold a “regional World Cup” in the Middle East in 2030 with the participation of Israel and the Arab countries that signed the Abraham Agreements.