ABU DHABI 4 February 2021: Al-Ain Football Club and Israel’s Maccabi Haifa will play two friendlies, the first such fixtures since the two countries normalised relations last year.
The announcement by the two clubs this evening came during their live virtual signing of an MoU, in the presence of Mohamed Thaaloob Al Derei, Chairman of the Board of Al Ain Club Investment Company and Yaqoub Shahar, President of Maccabi Haifa Club along with executives from both sides.
“The agreement will consolidate the policy of bridge-building and cooperation between the two major clubs in various fields, including marketing, technical cooperation, investment, commercial activities, media and sport to embody the values of peaceful co-existence, tolerance, acceptance and human fraternity,” said Thaaloob.
“I congratulate here all parties concerned on this historic partnership. And I seize this opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to the principles of our moderate religion and to continue to pursue the approach of our wise leadership,” he added, underling the key role played by sports in promoting tolerance and peace between all peoples of the world.
Under the agreement, the two clubs agreed to stage two friendlies, the first to be hosted in Al-Ain at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, and the second to be held in Haifa at an unspecified future date, said Wam.
“I am pleased to witness this important moment in the history of the Israeli and Emirati game, and for sports in general,” said Yaqoub Shahar, President of Maccabi Haifa Club.
“I have always believed it was possible to develop friendly relations through sports. This memorandum of understanding creates a relationship that will include collaborations on both the sporting and business side.”
In December last year, the Emirati and Israeli football federations signed a cooperation agreement, a first between the two nations, intended to promote closer sporting ties.