Palestine have never qualified for the World Cup but have reached three Asian Cup tournaments
Algeria says it has agreed to host the Palestine national team’s forthcoming football matches following a request from the Palestinian FA.
Palestine are scheduled to start their 2026 World Cup campaign in the Asian section next month.
Their first qualifier, away to Lebanon on 16 November, will be played in the United Arab Emirates.
A ‘home’ match against Australia five days later looks set to be played in north Africa.
Following the attack on Israel by the militant group Hamas on 7 October, which left more than 1,400 people dead, the Gaza Strip has been the subject of retaliatory air strikes, which have resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, with the Israelis looking set to launch an imminent ground offensive.
“The president of the Algerian Football Federation, Mr Walid Sadi, announces that our country will host the official Palestine-Australia match, scheduled for November,” the Algerian federation wrote on its website. external-link
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The statement added that the decision to host “all official and unofficial matches as part of the Palestinian football team’s preparation for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup qualifiers” was taken “in accordance with Algeria’s leading authorities”.
The Algerian federation added that it will pay all costs, such as transport and accommodation, related to Palestine’s stay.
The early rounds of 2026 World Cup qualifying in Asia also double up as qualifiers for the continent’s main football competition, the Asian Cup.
The Palestinian Football Association, whose national stadium is based in the West Bank, has sought external help as the regional conflict intensifies, stating that the Asian Football Confederation has asked it to stage the Australia match in a neutral venue.
Algeria hosted this year’s African Nations Championship, a competition for African footballers based in their own countries
Algeria’s agreement to host Palestine internationals will require approval from football’s world governing body, Fifa, and the Asian Football Confederation.
Last week, Palestine’s preparations for next month’s qualifiers were hit after the team withdrew from the Merdeka Cup tournament in Malaysia at two days’ notice owing to the escalating conflict with Israel.
Israel’s 2024 European Championship qualifiers against Switzerland and Kosovo were also postponed by European governing body Uefa because of the fighting.