FIFA ticketing website labels Israel as ‘Palestinian Territory, Occupied’

by Jacob Fuller

Vicky Arias, FISM News


FIFA has sparked controversy for its refusal to acknowledge Israel as a country, instead using language that is indicative of anti-Zionist language to refer to the country or ignoring their statehood altogether.

The ticketing website used by soccer’s international governing board for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar originally referred to Israel as “Palestinian Territory, Occupied.” After backlash, the site was updated to exclude Israel altogether from the list of countries that can purchase hospitality packages

Palestine is, however, included.

FIFA is offering VIP hospitality packages for the World Cup through Match Hospitality, the only FIFA-authorized company in charge of sales for these packages. The packages include the price of admission, as well as private suites with various amenities. In order to buy a package, an individual must select the country in which they reside from a drop-down menu.

On this menu, the FIFA site originally listed Israel as “Palestinian Territory, Occupied,” while Palestine was clearly named in the list. After outrage from Israelis, site designers removed the listing, but did not replace it with a new selection for Israel. As of today, there are no menu options listed for Israel whatsoever.



During a live chat with Match Hospitality, FISM News asked why Palestine is listed on the menu, but Israel is not. The company responded that they “do not have that information,” and quickly ended the chat.

The FIFA World Cup will host national soccer teams from around the globe in the world’s most popular sporting tournament this November in Qatar, where diplomatic relations with Israel do not formally exist.

According to a news publication out of Doha, the capital of Qatar, Palestinians are pleased with the exclusion of Israel on FIFA’s website.

Despite Israel becoming an independent country in 1948, the Doha News stated that “people on social media have…pointed to the accuracy in the listing of Israel as an occupying state, given its more than 70 years of illegal occupation of Palestine.”

“The move comes as no surprise as Qatar has long stood with Palestinians against Israel. Unlike some of its neighbors, namely the [United Arab Emirates] and Bahrain, Qatar has staunchly refused to join a wave of normalization in the Arab world that has seen some state[s] establish ties with Israel,” Doha News reported.

While Israelis may have a difficult time securing a hospitality package, Israel and Qatar did strike a deal that will allow Israelis to attend the event.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the World Cup marks “the first time that Israelis will be accepted into [Qatar] without using a foreign passport.”

According to the Times of Israel, “under the terms of the deal reached with FIFA…Israelis seeking to attend must first purchase a ticket to a game, then apply online for a Fan ID card, approval of which grants its holder entry to Qatar and enables them to order accommodation.”

Despite allowing Israelis entry to the World Cup games, “Qatar…is seen as unlikely to join other Gulf states in establishing full ties with Israel due to its own relationship to Iran,” the Times of Israel reported.

Many see the move to not include Israel on the FIFA ticketing site as antisemitic.

Antisemitism is common in the Middle East and appears to be ramping up in many counties across the globe. According to the Anti-Semitism Worldwide Report, 2021 saw “a significant increase in various types of anti-Semitic incidents in most countries with large Jewish populations.”

The BBC also reported that “in the US, which has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes recorded in both New York and Los Angeles [in 2021] were almost twice that of the previous year.”