FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the signing of the Ibrahim Agreements could eventually lead to Israel co-hosting the soccer World Cup with its Arab neighbors.
Speaking about the Abraham Agreements, Infantino said in a speech at the opening of the Friedman Peace Center at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem that the move could lead to regional cooperation in hosting soccer tournaments.
He added that world football’s governing body is looking at expanding the men’s and women’s tournaments into annual events, and thus could see Israel co-hosted.
He asked: “Why do we not dream of the World Cup in Israel and the neighboring countries? With Abraham’s agreements, why not do it here in Israel with its neighbors in the Middle East and the Palestinians?”
FIFA was widely criticized for its first attempt to revive a tournament in the region, awarding Qatar the honor of hosting the 2022 World Cup. The move was criticized due to Qatar’s human rights record and widespread allegations of corruption in securing the event.
Israeli Sports and Culture Minister Heli Trooper, who met with Infantino earlier on Tuesday evening, welcomed his statements, saying that they discussed future cooperation between FIFA and Israel.
For its part, the participation of the FIFA President in the event angered the Palestinians, who canceled a meeting between him and the President of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub in Ramallah.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry criticized the event, saying that Friedman “is known for his extremist stances and support for annexation, colonialism and other crimes under international law as well as for his notorious efforts to deny the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”
The Palestinian Authority indicated that the Museum of Tolerance was erected on an Islamic cemetery: “One of the basic requirements for peace is respect for religious sites, and the preservation of their status quo.”
Source: The Times of Israel