Israelis will be able to attend 2022 World Cup games in Qatar, Israeli ministers said on Thursday, in a move they said would open “a new door” to a country with which Israel does not currently have formal diplomatic relations.
The agreement, which came after months of talks with FIFA, was announced by Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Sports Minister Chili Tropper.
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“Love of football and sport connects people and states, and the World Cup in November opens a new door for us to warm ties,” the statement quoted Lapid as saying.
The Israel team failed to qualify for the finals.
Qatar, a small but wealthy Gulf Arab state, will host the first World Cup in the Middle East, starting in late November.
Qatar World Cup officials have repeatedly said that all nationalities are welcome during the tournament. All ticketholders must apply for the Hayya card, a fan identification, which doubles as their entry visa to Qatar.
Unlike its Gulf Arab neighbors Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which recently signed historic agreements with Israel, Qatar is yet to normalize relations with Israel.