Boaz Toshav (left), one of the owners and Board members of Israel's leading club Hapoel Tel Aviv, was received by Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council. Image Credit: Dubai Sports Council

Dubai: Hapoel Tel Aviv, a leading Israel football club with 13 league titles, is looking to collaborate and seek investment opportunities with Dubai Sports Council, according to one of their owners.

Boaz Toshav, one of the owners and Board members of the club, visited the council office to discuss mutual cooperation and investment opportunities. Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, received Toshav in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council.

Welcoming Toshav, Hareb explained the role that the Council plays in promoting sport at many different levels in Dubai, including the grassroots and community level, in developing the country’s sports sector in organising and supporting different local and international sports events, as well as in encouraging the private sector and individuals to invest in Dubai’s burgeoning sports sector.

“We are very, very excited to be here in Dubai and visit Dubai Sports Council,” said Toshav as he thanked council for the reception. “Hapoel Tel Aviv is one of the leading teams in Israel. It has always been supportive of the values of co-existence and for us, the normalisation agreement (between the United Arab Emirates and Israel) is a great opportunity to find new friends and new collaborations in this area.

“We are very, very thrilled with the hospitality we have received here and it’s very exciting for us. Football for us is a tool to bridge gaps and divisions, and we will try to do it through football and through our club.”

Originally established in 1923, Hapoel Tel Aviv are the first Asian champions, winning the first edition of the Asian Football Confederation’s continental club championship, the Asian Champion Club tournament (now AFC Champions League) in 1967, defeating Malaysian club Selangor FA 2-1 in Bangkok.

Since 1995, the club has been competing in European club competitions and have recorded victories against top sides like Chelsea, Milan, Hamburg, Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Rangers, and Celtic.

Hapoel Tel Aviv were the first Israel club to sign an Arab player and their list of Arab players includes Rifaat Turk, who went on to become the first Arab to play for the Israel national team and represent the country at the Olympic Games, Salim Tuama and Walid Badir.

A press release from the Council says they have the highest number of Arab players for all age groups as well as the club’s first team, and the club is also affiliated with several initiatives for children that promote equality and opportunities through football.

Both the city-owned stadium of Hapoel Tel Aviv, the 30,000-seating Bloomfield Stadium, as well as their training facility are located in the southern part of Tel Aviv, in the historic port city of Jaffa which has a majority Arab population.