Israelis will be able to attend the 2022 World Cup games in Qatar, Israeli ministers have said, in a move they said would open “a new door” to the Arab 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, Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Sports Minister Chili Tropper on Thursday.
“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.
Qatar, which does not grant visas to holders of Israeli passports, did not immediately comment on the Israeli claim.
The Israel team failed to qualify for the finals.
All nationalities are welcome
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 neighbours Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which recently signed historic agreements with Israel, Qatar has conditioned normalising relations on the establishment of a Palestinian state.