Israel and UAE to cooperate on soccer

Maccabi Haifa and UAE's Al-Ain FC to meet for a friendly match in Abu Dhabi.

Elad Benari ,

Maccabi Haifa owner Yaakov Shachar
Maccabi Haifa owner Yaakov Shachar
Reuven Cohen, official website of Maccabi Haifa

The Maccabi Haifa soccer team announced on Sunday a cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates' Al-Ain FC and the two teams are expected to meet for a friendly match in Abu Dhabi, Yediot Aharonot reports.

"I am happy to inform you that our club has been invited to hold a friendly soccer match called the 'Game of Peace', in Abu Dhabi," said Maccabi Haifa owner Yaakov Shachar.

"We informed them that we would be happy to play against them in Abu Dhabi and host them in our city, Haifa. Their positive and happy response has just been received and the date for the game will be set later, according to the two clubs' schedules,” Shachar added.

"I have always believed it was possible to develop friendly relations through sports. We will sign a memorandum of understanding between the two clubs in a matter of days to create a relationship that will include collaborations on both the sporting and business side."

Al-Ain is the most decorated team in UAE history and has won the local championship 13 times and the Super Cup five times.

In 2018, the team reached the final of the Club World Cup, where it lost to European champions Real Madrid.

The agreement between the two clubs was made possible thanks to the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE.

Last week, an Emirati delegation visited Israel. During the visit, the sides signed series of agreements establishing ties between the two countries and implementing the Abraham Accords signed at the White House last month.

On Monday, a day before the UAE delegation visited Israel, the Emirati government ratified the landmark agreement with Israel.

The UAE’s ratification came several days after the Knesset overwhelmingly approved the peace treaty in an 80 to 13 vote.