Israel, UAE Eye Teaming Up to Bid For Hosting of World Cup 2030 to 'Enhance Ties and Improve Image'
The bidding process for World Cup 2030 will start in the second quarter of 2022, whereas the winner is expected to be announced two years later, during the 74th FIFA Congress. Hosting the tournament will require the investment of billions of dollars, and reports suggest the two nations might also join forces with other regional players.
Even though World Cup 2030 seems like a remote event, many countries have already submitted their bid to host the international tournament.
Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay have banded together for a joint bid in 2019. During that same year, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia have also decided to run, whereas Spain and Portugal did it a year later
Israel and the UAE to Join Forces
Several other states are now considering submitting official requests. They include the UK, which would partner with Ireland. Another is Saudi Arabia, which would team up with Italy. And, more recently, it was revealed that Israel and the United Arab Emirates would try their luck too
Israel and the UAE signed the historic Abraham Accords that normalised relations between them in 2020, ending years of animosity. Since then, the two states have boosted trade and military ties. They have also cooperated on a number of important projects including in the spheres of tackling the coronavirus pandemic, banking, space and cyber security.
Now, they might also be teaming up to host the world's largest competition.
Talking on condition of anonymity, a source within the UAE Ministry of Sports says that the idea is "welcomed" by both states.
"The way we envision it is that it would work like it did with Japan and South Korea that teamed together and hosted the World Cup of 2002. Some of the matches would be held in Israel, others in the Emirates," said the official.
Israel and the UAE are some three hours apart by air, which means that the two states would need to operate a number of daily flights to cater to the needs of teams and fans, if the tournament ends up being hosted by them.
But what they will also need to do is to fork out a pretty penny on boosting their infrastructure, building more stadiums, hotels and other necessary facilities that would meet the standards of the mega event.
The UAE official says that they are "well aware" of the expenses they will be enduring and that they are "ready to dig deep" in their pockets to make this project happen. But he also stressed that these talks are not taking place at the moment and that they will only occur, when time is ripe and when negotiations between the two sides progress.
Hosting the World Cup costs billions of dollars. Estimates suggest that in 2010 South Africa spent $3.6 billion on the event. Four years later, Brazil invested $15 billion, whereas Qatar -- the host of the 2022 games -- is pouring in some $220 billion
Israel and the UAE will need to fork out similar sums too, cash that the Jewish state does not necessarily have. And this is the reason why it is considering teaming up with more regional players that would also share the costs of the world's championship.
Recently, Sylvan Adams, an Israeli billionaire, entrepreneur and the man, who stood behind the organisation of the Giro race in Israel, revealed that he plans to advance an initiative that would have Israel and the UAE teaming up with Egypt and Saudi Arabia
However, the official in the Emirates said it would be "unrealistic to think that the Saudis would play any role in this endeavor without a proper normalisation deal with Israel".
"The only thing that the Saudis might be able to consider is making the airspace smoother but a participation on the ground is out of question."
Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, Saudi Arabia has been hostile to the Jewish state and has even assisted Arab armies in their war against Israel.
Officials in Riyadh have repeatedly stressed that a peace agreement with Israel would not be possible unless there was a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are not planning to budge from that decision.
However, an official in the UAE has said his country is seriously considering the prospect of teaming up with Israel, with or without Saudia Arabia, and the reason for this is the "peace that such an event would promote".
"This championship will contribute to the development of bilateral ties. It will promote the image of the states and it will enhance the Abraham Accords," he summed up.
The bidding process for World Cup 2030 will kick off in the second quarter of 2022, whereas the winner is expected to be announced two years later during the 74th FIFA Congress.