Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening met in Jerusalem with UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) President Aleksander Čeferin.
The premier thanked Čeferin for the selection of Israel to host the 2027 U19 European Championship, which will be contested by eight national teams at stadiums in Rehovot, Petah Tikva, Afula and at the Peace Stadium in the Arab-majority city of Umm al-Fahm.
“The choice of the stadiums and cities where the games will take place is of national importance and will strengthen coexistence in Israeli society and cohesion around the national team,” read a statement from Netanyahu’s office.
The meeting also focused on the possibility of Jerusalem hosting the 2026/27 Conference League Final as well as a UEFA Congress in the near future.
Also present at the meeting were Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar, Israeli Football Association chairman Moshe Shino Zuares and CEO Niv Goldstein.
Earlier Wednesday, Čeferin met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who “welcomed the UEFA president’s recognition of the progress and historic achievements Israeli football had made in recent years,” according to a separate statement.
The two also spoke of the importance of efforts to combat violence on the sports field.
The meetings come on the heels of a series of stellar performances by Israeli national teams.
Two weeks ago, the men’s team pulled out a heart-stopping 1-0 victory over Belarus, keeping it in contention to qualify for the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship.
While Israel is fighting for a trip to Germany next year, the team has already qualified for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, the third time Israeli soccer will be heading to the Olympics.
In July, Israel reached the semifinals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, and a month earlier the Blue and White capped an historic run at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Argentina by beating South Korea 3-1 to finish the tournament in third place.