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UAE and Israel sign football MOU

(Source: Twitter)

It would have been unthinkable only a year ago.

But after the normalisation of relations between UAE and Israel, the football leagues have signed an MOU (memorandum of Understanding) covering ways that they can cooperate and work more closely together. 

It is the first ever such arrangement between an Arab nation and the Jewish State. 

It follows the official recognition of Israel by the UAE in September, the first Gulf State to do so in September, and only the third Middle Eastern country to do so after Egypt in 1979, and Jordan in 1994.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two countries will jointly hold workshops on how their leagues might be better marketed and promoted, and also on the technology of the game. There may also be friendly games between the two countries.

It comes after Al-Nasr of Dubai became the first UAE club to sign an Israeli footballer, Dia Saba.

Officials from both leagues are hoping that the MOU will help to foster peace between the two countries and will serve to the mutual benefit of both leagues.

Israel, like India, used to be part of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).  However, they were expelled after the 1974 Asian Games following a motion proposed by Kuwait and North Korea, both of whom refused to play them. 

For the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualifiers they played in the European round of qualifiers, before switching to Oceania for the next two tournaments.

In 1991 Israeli clubs began to take part in European club competitions, and, three years later, the Israel Football Association became a full UEFA member. 

They remain an anomaly today, an ostensibly Asian country which looks to Europe for its club and international football.

Shantanu Gupta predominantly writes for the sister sites of CricketNews.com: Inplay Cricket India, Inplay Sports India and Indian Cricket World. Having grown up around the intense rivalries of cricket Shantanu took to a journalistic career in following the sport whilst also remaining mindful of other key sports of interest to Indian sports fans. You’ll see him not only writing about cricket but also covering football, tennis and more.

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