It was recently discovered by Israeli world cup goers that Winterhill Hospitality is authorized by FIFA to sell and distribute FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tickets through their online store, but instead shows “Occupied Palestinian Territories” when they search for their country.
Prior to being changed to “Palestine”, the listing displayed “Palestinian Territory, Occupied“. Social media users have had mixed reactions to the change, with pro-Palestine and Palestinian activists appreciating the move while Israelis and Zionists condemned the move as “disgraceful” or “anti-Semitic.””.
As reported by the Jewish Chronicle, a spokesperson for MATCH Hospitality said: “Our sales agent in Palestine is Winterhill Hospitality, based in Hong Kong. The company, along with BH Hospitality, has been appointed exclusively to represent MATCH Hospitality in all territories in the Asia-Pacific/Middle Eastern region, including Palestine..”
What made Qatar choose Palestine over Israel?
Despite of Qatar being a Muslim country, it has reservations towards non-Muslim countries, however, it respects other faiths and can maintain peace and be understanding of the diversity of other religious alignments. Israel does not have this privilege, so they reached an agreement with FIFA officials to go to the world cup without using a foreign passport.
In Asia and Oceania, Winterhill Hospitality is the exclusive sales agent for match hospitality programs.
Israel will, for the duration of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, open its airspace to international flights to and from Qatar under an agreement reached in June with the Jordanian and European aviation authorities to shorten flight times during this much-awaited sporting event.
Consequently, European and American football fans on route to Qatar will be able to fly over Israel, Cyprus, and Jordan.
What about the Israel and FIFA deal?
For the first time, Israelis can enter the country with their own passports after speaking to FIFA officials so they could travel and be treated as any other nationality. When they purchase tickets online, they can apply for a Fan ID that gives them access to the country, flight bookings, and hotel and car reservations.