Tuesday 12 October 2021, 20:00

Collaboration and cooperation to the fore in Israel talks

FIFA President Gianni Infantino completed a two-day visit to Israel by meeting Isaac Herzog, the President of the State of Israel, and Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel, where collaboration and cooperation were key topics in the development of football in the region. “It was a true honour to meet with Isaac Herzog and Naftali Bennett, both of whom believe in the strength of collaborative relations, to bring about meaningful, beneficial change for all, for the good of the society,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“I wish President Herzog and the State of Israel well, as they continue to foster open communication and dialogue with other world leaders in the region,” he added. “We at FIFA, meanwhile, very much look forward to working together in the future with Israel and the Israeli Football Association, to help realise their new strategy for football development.” Earlier, the FIFA President addressed the Jerusalem Post’s Tenth Annual Conference, entitled ”The Future is Now” where he mentioned the significance of the FIFA World Cup in uniting people, including hosting world’s biggest football event. “Today, hosting the FIFA World Cup is a very big venture, it is more than just a sports event,” Mr Infantino said. “It is an event where you have 3.5 to 4 million tickets sold, where you have 1.5 to 2 million people visiting a country, where you have the world watching with 4 billion people in the case of the FIFA World Cup, and 1.2 billion people for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

When asked about the possibility for Israel to host a major FIFA event one day, the FIFA President added: “You need to have vision, dreams and ambitions. In recent months, I was in Dubai where the UAE Football Association and the Israel Football Association have signed an historic agreement. I think that co-hosting is the future, so why not dreaming and thinking about it, be it at youth or senior level, men or women, because the FIFA World Cup has this unique magic in bringing people together and in uniting people.” It was the FIFA President’s second speech in Israel as on Monday evening he addressed the Friedman Center’s gala event at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. On this occasion, the FIFA President shared his long-held belief that football was much more than a sport and that it holds a tremendous and unique power. Mr Infantino also reiterated how FIFA wants to put football at the service of society, and to make a real difference, bringing its contribution, however possible, to peace and stability in the region. The FIFA President’s two-day visit concluded with his attendance at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier between Israel and Latvia at the HaMoshava stadium in Petah Tikva.