(Bloomberg) -- Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, which gained notoriety for its hardcore supporters’ chants of “death to Arabs,” confirmed on Tuesday that it’s in talks to secure a “large investment” from the United Arab Emirates as the two nations prepared to seal a landmark peace deal.
Beitar’s owner, Moshe Hogeg, will soon travel to Abu Dhabi to advance the deal, the soccer club said on its website.
After years of discreet closer ties, the UAE is due to sign an agreement with Israel in Washington on Tuesday to normalize relations, making it the third Middle East nation to formally recognize the majority-Jewish state.
“This is a chance to turn Beitar Jerusalem into a dominant club, powerful in Israel and globally, that will serve as a tangible symbol of the new winds of peace that are blowing in the Middle East,” the club said.
When Hogeg took over in 2018, he said religion would no longer be a criteria in choosing players, the Times of Israel reported, signaling that had been a factor in the past. The owner sought to stop racist chanting in the club’s stadium.
Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster reported Sept. 12 that an Abu Dhabi businessman told associates he’s considering investing in the club, and that accountants and lawyers are checking the financial and legal feasibility of the deal. Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday that the potential investor is businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim.
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