ZURICH: FIFA has raised the possibility of Israel co-hosting a future World Cup, with the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett mentioning the possibility of bidding for the 2030 men’s tournament.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino ended a two-day visit to Israel on Tuesday by meeting with Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.
The head of world football’s governing body was asked during his trip to Israel about the country’s possibility of hosting a major FIFA event.
“You have to have a vision, dreams and ambitions,” Infantino said, according to a FIFA statement.
“For the past few months, I was in Dubai where the United Arab Emirates Football Association and the Israel Football Association signed a historic agreement.
“I think co-hosting is the future, so why not dream about it and think about it – whether at youth or senior level, men or women – because the FIFA World Cup has that unique magic of bringing people together and uniting people. “
In a statement, Bennett’s office said that during talks with Infantino, “the FIFA president raised the idea that Israel would host the World Cup in 2030, along with other countries in the region headed by the United Arab Emirates “.
The brief statement said Steven Mnuchin, former Treasury Secretary to US President Donald Trump, was present at the meeting, as was US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
The Trump administration initiated the 2020 “Abraham Accords”, which saw several Arab countries, namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, normalize their relations with Israel.
The Middle East region is set to host the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar in November and December next year.
The United States, Mexico and Canada are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup.
FIFA plans to select host 2030 in 2024.
Speaking at a conference hosted by the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Infantino highlighted the scale of the endeavor of hosting a FIFA World Cup.
“Today, hosting the FIFA World Cup is a very big undertaking. It’s more than just a sporting event, ”he said.
“It’s an event where you have 3.5 to four million tickets sold, where you have 1.5 to two million people visiting a country, where the world is watching, with four billion people in the event of the FIFA World Cup, and 1.2 billion people for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. ”
During his visit to Israel, Infantino highlighted how FIFA wishes to contribute, “to the extent possible, to peace and stability in the region,” said the world’s football governing body. – AFP