15 May 2024 - 3:10 PM


PR | Niv Goldstein has been the CEO of Israel's FA (IFA) since may 2023

“If the Palestinians want a match for peace, we’ll play them tomorrow”. Israel FA CEO on football, business, war and reconciliation

  • Israel FA CEO Niv Goldstein has to keep football running at a time of crisis in his country, amidst mounting international outrage at its war in Gaza. In an exclusive interview he tells us how he balances those competing interests.
  • Against a backdrop of war, Israeli football has kept going, with attendances down just 16 per cent of last year’s levels, the national team making this summer’s Olympics, and commercial deals signed.
  • Why it matters: On Friday FIFA Congress will hear motions calling for Israel’s suspension from football, potentially leaving it in the sporting darkness.
  • The perspective: Goldstein says that football can be utilised as an instrument for peace and reconciliation and says that if asked Israel will play Palestine in a symbolic international game for peace.

How do you run a football association during a time of war? How do you keep the business of football flowing when your country faces conflict on at least four fronts and your audience’s hearts and minds invariably lay elsewhere? How do you detach yourself from an occupation that threatens to make your country a global pariah, when at the same time you run a team that represents that same country on the international stage?

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