World News

Qatar World Cup site omits Israel

Site lists 'Occupied Palestinian territories', no Israel

Screen capture from a section of the FIFA website.
Screen capture from a section of the FIFA website.

Israel is not listed among Middle East countries in a section of the FIFA website providing information about hospitality packages for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar in November-December.

Instead there is only a listing for “Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

The issue was first reported by the Ynet news site last Wednesday.

A section on the website of the world soccer governing body, FIFA, deals with hospitality packages and enables visitors to find their nearest agent to make arrangements.

After choosing “Asia & Middle East” from a map of the world, a dropdown list further narrows the choices.

Israel is not among the dozens of countries listed, though “Occupied Palestinian Territories” is.

Israel is not listed in the section for Europe, either.

Winterhill Hospitality, a Hong Kong-based company, has exclusive rights to offer hospitality services for the World Cup, via FIFA.

On its website it says that its subsidiary MATCH Hospitality “is the only company in the world that is authorised by FIFA to offer and guarantee exclusive ticket-inclusive hospitality packages for every match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, directly or through its appointed sales agents”.

In June, Israel announced that Israeli citizens had been granted permission to visit Qatar for the World Cup, despite the two nations having no formal diplomatic relations.

A joint announcement from the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, and culture and sport at the time said Israeli citizens – who ordinarily can only enter Qatar on a foreign passport – will be able to freely travel and attend games there during the tournament, scheduled to begin on November 21.

Under the terms of the deal reached with FIFA, the sport’s international governing body, Israelis seeking to attend must first purchase a ticket to a game, then apply online for a Fan ID card, approval of which grants its holder entry to Qatar and enables them to order accommodation.

Qatar hosted an Israeli trade office from 1995 to 2000, but is seen as unlikely to join other Gulf states in establishing full ties with Israel due to its own relationship to Iran.


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