Owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, has donated $6 million for Israel’s first American football field.
The Jewish businessman, Robert Kraft, who is visiting Israel, said: “This isn’t a business trip. It’s something about spirituality.”
The field will be built in the Cedar Valley in Jerusalem and is due to open in the summer of 2017. And it will be able to host international matches in Israel for the first time next year.
In Israel, where “football” means soccer, American football is the biggest non-Olympic sport with 1,350 players in 46 teams across the country, including a 15-team women’s league, with 150 women, 750 adults and 450 teenagers.
It was brought here in 1989 by American expats who missed the feeling of getting in formation and throwing a spiral.
According to Bezalel Friedman, director of the Israel Football League, the shortage of established fields makes it difficult to improve the quality of the game in the country. Groups are forced to wander in the middle of the season between football fields across the country in search of a place to practice. The goal is to establish three additional fields over the next decade in the south, center and north of the country.
The football field will be under the name of the Robert Kraft family and is being built according to American international standards.
The grass will be imported and will cover an area of 120 yards (110 by 49 square meters).
The project will offer regular fans an option to expand the temporary seats, locker rooms, administrative offices, infrastructure for pedestrians and parking. The sports complex is built in cooperation with the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Development Company – Moria, Israel’s Sports Betting Authority and with the help of Israel Football Association President Steve Leibowitz.