For the first time, UEFA held its annual congress in Israel. The congress took place in late March in Tel Aviv, two months before the World Cup in South Africa.

The UEFA Congress visit to Israel was the responsibility of UEFA and the Israel Football Association. Participants included about 330 people from the international football scene led by FIFA President Joseph (Sepp) Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, former German footballer Franz Beckenbauer and the heads of leading international football teams.

Among other activities, the guests toured the main tourist sites in the Old City of Jerusalem including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter and enjoyed a festive reception in David’s Citadel that included the Night Spectacular sound and light show depicting the 3,000 year history of Jerusalem.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said: “Israel is an ideal country for training camps and sporting activities and matches year-round and especially during the European winter. I am sure that the combination of the climate and the infrastructure for training and matches, alongside the many tourist sites and entertainment and leisure options, will make our guests choose Israel for both personal and professional visits in the future.”