UAE's Al Nasr becomes first Arab club to sign Israeli footballer

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 28, 2020, 06.20 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( ANI )

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Sabia is of Palestinian origin. He was born in northern Israel and rose through the ranks of a youth club before moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2012.

A UAE-based club has become the first Arab club to sign an Israeli footballer, Diaa Sabia. This signing comes two weeks of UAE-Israel's peace treaty.

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Sabia is an attacking midfielder with China's Guangzhou R&F, signed a two-year contract with Dubai's Al-Nasr, the club said in a statement Sunday. The deal for the Israeli cost more than 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million).

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"Al-Nasr has completed the procedures with Diaa Saba ... in a contract that extends for two seasons after he successfully passed medical examinations this morning," it said in a statement.

Al-Nasr took to Twitter to share the footage of the footballer wearing the number 9 jersey, dribbling and shooting in the emirate's Al-Maktoum Stadium. 

The club is known for its links to the Israeli far-right, and it has never fielded an Arab player. It has been fined several times for its fans' racist chants such as "death to Arabs".

Sabia is of Palestinian origin. He was born in northern Israel and rose through the ranks of a youth club before moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2012.

He played for several Israeli clubs until signing in 2014 with Maccabi Netanya, where he stayed for four years. 

Sabia has scored 50 goals in 111 games in various competitions, including 24 in the 2018 season, and has 10 caps in the Israeli national team.

He was sold to Guangzhou R&F for more than four million euros.

(Inputs from AFP)