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Montevideo, December 4th 2021 - 13:54 UTC

 

 

FIFA's Infantino suggests holding the 2030 World Cup in Israel, Palestine and friendly neighbors

Friday, October 15th 2021 - 08:47 UTC
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The idea was first mentioned at a meeting of Infantino with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet (L), according to a release from the PM's office. The idea was first mentioned at a meeting of Infantino with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet (L), according to a release from the PM's office.
“With the Abraham Accords, why should we not have it here in Israel, with her neighbors in the Middle East and the Palestinians?” Infantino said “With the Abraham Accords, why should we not have it here in Israel, with her neighbors in the Middle East and the Palestinians?” Infantino said

In 1930 Uruguay won the first Football world Jules Rimet Cup after defeating Argentina in the final game. The two countries with other members of Mercosur, possibly Paraguay and Chile have/had hopes of organizing the 2030 major event, and apparently, there were some exploratory conversations on the matter.

However FIFA president Gianno Infantino surprised everybody when during a visit to Jerusalem, suggested that the 2030 World Cup could take place in Israel, Palestine and other countries in the region.

”With the Abraham Accords (the formalization agreement between Israel, UAE and Bahrain), why should we not have it here in Israel, with her neighbors in the Middle East and the Palestinians?“ Infantino said at the opening ceremony of the Friedman Center for Peace through Strength, which took place at Jerusalem's Museum of Tolerance.

The idea was first mentioned at a meeting of Infantino with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, according to a release from the PM's office.

The event at the Museum of Tolerance was attended by some heavy weight US figures among which former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was honored for the part he played in the Abraham Accords in August 2020. Also present were members from the previous Israel cabinet among which ex Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, plus former Trump adviser Jared Kushner, the ex-president's son-in-law.

However Infantino's participation in the event infuriated the Palestinian Football Association which described the ceremony as ”a total affront to the values of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, both endorsed by the FIFA statutes.”

But despite the controversy there are FIFA rules which demand that host countries stadiums for a World Cup need to have a 40,000 capacity, while for the opening and closing ceremony the stadium must be able to hold 80,000 people. Israel's largest stadiums hold in the range of 30,000 fans

Back in 1929/30 Uruguay built its Centenary Stadium in eight months, with a 40,000 seated capacity, which should not be an insurmountable impediment for Israel or the rich neighbors. However the fact that there have been no official comments from the regional Mercosur football associations, the real surprise could then be Infantino's wishful thoughts as part of his strong lobbying for holding the world cup every two years instead of four, or the fact that despite the best of intentions, FIFA's was not well advised about Middle East politics.

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