UAE investment into Beitar Jerusalem signals closer Israeli ties
A member of the Abu Dhabi royal family is in the process of buying in the region of 50 per cent of Israeli top-tier soccer club Beitar Jerusalem, according to Beitar's current owner.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan has sent a letter of intent (albeit non-binding) to Moshe Hogeg, Beitar’s owner, declaring his ambition to buy roughly half the club. It has not been confirmed whether the stake would be over 50 per cent, signalling a controlling majority.
The deal would follow on from an historic memorandum of understanding announced by the Israeli Professional Football Football League and the United Arab Emirates Pro League last month, which had at its core private investment and commercial opportunities.
The MOU followed on from the UAE, in September, becoming the first Gulf nation and third Arab state to officially establish relations with Israel, following Egypt and Jordan.
Hogeg has talked openly about taking on investment from the UAE ever since, as have the owners of rival club Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Under the terms of the MoU, the IPFL and UAE Pro League will: create bilateral workshops, research and knowledge exchange; support each other with commercial opportunities; promote football development in both countries; and explore competitions between teams in the two leagues.
The Beitar deal is being brokered by Naum Koen, a businessman of Jewish-Emirati origins, and Hogeg told Reuters he hoped an agreement will be finalised by the end of the year.