By Danny Caro
January 28, 2011
Sport lovers in Israel can look forward to a real treat in the summer of 2013.
Preparations are already under way for the 19th Maccabiah Games in July.
But a month earlier, some of the most talented young footballers from across Europe will fly in to take part in the Under 21 European Championships.
I’d be lying if I said that I was not surprised when Fifa recently named Qatar as the host nation for the 2022 World Cup finals.
It’s hard to believe that a small footballing nation like Israel has been handed a tournament of this calibre, but clearly a sign of changing times.
I believe that as well as boosting the Israeli economy and tourism industry, the competition will galvanise football in the region. For some time now, Israel has had strong youth teams at Under 17, Under 19 and Under 21 level. Now, they have an opportunity to step up to the next level.
Avi Luzon, the chairman of the Israel Football Association, described Uefa’s decision as “an unprecedented achievement for Israeli football”. I couldn’t agree more.
So let's all say a few l'chaims around the dinner table tonight.