Israel: FIFA suggests 2030 World Cup bid with neighbours

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has suggested Israel and other states in the region bid to host the 2030 World Cup, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said following a meeting late Tuesday.

Infantino became the first head of the world football governing body to visit Israel this week and, according Bennett’s spokesperson on Twitter: “In their discussion, the FIFA President raised the idea that Israel would host the #WorldCup in 2030, together with other countries in the region, most notably with the United Arab Emirates.”

The tournament in nine years is also desired by South America, who could bid with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile, while a combined United Kingdom bid has also been mooted.

Portugal and Spain, along with China, have also expressed interest.

Infantino told the Jerusalem Post that “nothing is impossible. We need to think big. Today hosting a World Cup is a very, very big venture.

“You need to have visions, dreams and ambitions. We have been speaking a lot in recent months after the UAE and Israel signed their normalization agreement. So perhaps co-hosting is an option.

“The next World Cup after Qatar will be hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States – obviously three huge countries. So why not Israel? The World Cup is magical in that it brings people together, is such a uniting event and transcends every notion of negativity.”

The host is to be decided in 2024. After the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the first 48-nation World Cup in 2026 will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

FIFA is considering the feasibility of hosting the World Cup every two years from 2028 but this has met with opposition from various bodies within the game including European confederation UEFA.

In September 2020, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates became the first Gulf countries to establish official ties with Israel, crossing a decades-old line drawn by most Arab states, which refused to establish relations with Israel before the resolution of the conflict with Palestine

Since then, Israel has also signed similar agreements with Morocco and Sudan to normalize ties.

Previously, only two Arab states – Egypt and Jordan – maintained diplomatic relations with Israel.

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