World Soccer

West Bank hosts historic meeting with Saudi Arabia

In an historic first, Saudi Arabia travelled to the West Bank to play Palestine in a qualifier for the 2022 World Cup. The match resonated heavily in the political arena as Saudi Arabia, as part of the Arab boycott, had previously refused to enter Palestinian occupied territory.

Four years ago, Palestine and Saudi Arabia were paired in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers but the Saudis pressed Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas for an exemption from playing in the West Bank. Although it was mutually agreed to shift the match to neutral ground in Jordan, the Saudis, in reality, had backed out of the West Bank game in protest at Israel’s control over Palestinian borders.

Today, a different political backdrop allowed Saudi Arabia to

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