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Sylvan Adams, the man who brought Messi and Neymar to Tel Aviv – I24NEWS

The Israeli-Canadian tycoon relies on sport to promote the image of the Jewish state in the world

Israeli-Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams has no time to lose. Barely the bicycles of his team “Israel Premier Tech” stored in the trucks of the Tour de France – a tour which saw his team win two stage victories – now he receives Lionel Messi and Neymar with great fanfare in Israel. Sylvan Adams, who calls himself bluntly “self-proclaimed blue and white ambassador”, has managed the feat of convincing, for the second time, the Professional Football League to organize a prestigious meeting on Israeli soil.

Sunday evening, the Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv hosts, thanks to him, the famous Trophée des Champions which pits the reigning French champion in Ligue 1 against the winner of the Coupe de France. “Last year, we took advantage of the fact that most stadiums around the world were under health restrictions due to the pandemic. Israel, with its high vaccination coverage, was in a strong position and we obtained the holding of the Trophy in Tel Aviv”, explained Sylvan Adams on the set ofi24NEWS in June. “They were so satisfied with the experience that they decided to repeat it,” he rejoiced.

The presence in Tel Aviv of the undisputed football star, Lionel Messi, who arrived at Ben Gurion airport on Friday evening and followed by 230 million people on social networks, represents in the eyes of the real estate tycoon a unique opportunity to make Israel shine, far from received ideas and negative clichés about the country. According to him, nearly 400 million viewers worldwide are expected to watch the game.

AFP / AHMAD GHARABLIBrazilian striker Neymar and Argentinian striker Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain during a training session on July 30, 2022, at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Sylvan Adams, 63, is not new to “pro-Israeli sports communication”. He is the one to whom we owe the start of the Giro (Tour of Italy) in Jerusalem in 2018, the Argentina-Uruguay friendly match in Tel Aviv the following year, or the creation of the Israel cycling team. Start Up Nation (renamed Israel Premier Tech in 2022) which participates in major UCI World Tour competitions.

It has also funded a Sports Academy at Tel Aviv University, whose objective is “to raise the level of sports performance in the country in the fields of swimming, running, cycling and triathlon”.

“I think sport is a great tool for promoting what I call ‘normal Israel’. Just as we are viewed positively in many areas for our outstanding achievements, sport can help promote the image of Israel in the world,” he said.

Sylvan Adams is the son of Marcel Abramovich, who fled Nazi labor camps in Romania in the 1940s to reach Palestine under British mandate, before settling in Quebec a few years later. “A Return Home”. This is how he explained his installation in 2016 in Israel, a country “open, tolerant, full of diversity, and very democratic”.

“Sport is a language that everyone speaks…and using sport for a positive diplomatic purpose like building ties with our neighbors in the Middle East or hosting a football match in Israel is sport diplomacy. And I plead guilty to this idea”, he argued.

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In response, pro-Palestinian associations and other BDS are also playing their cards, waving Palestinian flags to denounce the participation of the Israel Premier Tech team in the Tour de France, or leading an action in front of the offices of the Professional Football League, at the end of June, to urge the French football authorities to relocate the Champions Trophy. A request that remained a dead letter.

“We have Arab policemen, doctors, nurses. There are Arab Israeli diplomats representing Israel abroad, Arab Israeli elected officials in the Knesset, and now an Arab party in the ruling coalition. that’s the real story (…) and we just want to show the real face of Israel,” the businessman simply replies. This supporter of dialogue still declared at the end of the Tour de France that nothing would make him more proud than to have an Israeli-Arab or even Palestinian rider in his team.

But Sylvan Adams still has two major ambitions that he intends to achieve: organize the start of the Tour de France in Israel in a few years, like what he had succeeded in 2018 with the Giro and, above all, obtain the holding of a football World Cup in Israel, co-organized by Israel and its neighbours. A crazy project, but no doubt commensurate with this self-proclaimed ambassador who seems to set no limits when it comes to shining the luster of the Jewish state.

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