Qatar claims it will allow Israelis to attend FIFA World Cup

Despite Qatar’s assurances, many question the Arab country’s ability to abide by FIFA’s Code of Ethics, which forbids discriminatory actions.

By World Israel News Staff

From the moment Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the ability of Israelis to enter the Arab nation and attend the event remained in question due to Qatar’s refusal to officially recognize the State of Israel.

Qatar’s Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for the Qatar World Cup, quelled any such doubts by telling ESPN earlier this month that Israelis are welcome to attend the world-famous soccer tournament.

“Everyone is welcome,” al-Thawadi said. “We do not mix sport and politics, but we would hope that Palestinians are able to make it too.”

A report this year by Cornerstone Global Associates, a prominent British consulting company, however, questions Qatar’s ability to abide by FIFA’s Code of Ethics that forbids any discriminatory actions.

Article 22 of FIFA’s Code of Ethics forbids “offend[ing] the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions on account of race, skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason.”

According to the report, Qatar’s official government website does not list Israel as a country whose citizens are eligible to apply for visas. Furthermore, the report cites Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council Akbar al-Baker, who said in May that Qatar would not issue visas to “its enemies.”

StandWithUs, an international pro-Israel NGO that educates people to fight anti-Semitism, also expressed skepticism regarding Qatar’s assurances.

“While we welcome Hassan al-Thawadi’s comments, we will be watching this issue closely. There have been major issues raised regarding Qatar hosting World Cup 2022 in light of their support for terror organizations including Hamas, their use of slave labor and their attitude towards the LGBTQ community,” said Roz Rothstein CEO and Co-Founder of StandWithUs.

“These are all legitimate concerns, as is the issue of fans from the world’s only Jewish country being banned from attending the tournament,” she said. “If Qatar is allowed to ban Israeli fans from entering, this will reflect negatively on FIFA, which has made inclusion a primary hallmark of their ethos.”