Football commands a predominant position and massive following among all sporting activities in the UAE. A number of tournaments which attract huge crowds are organised every year with the participation of many local, regional and international teams.
The FIFA Club World Cup 2009 and 2010 hosted by the UAE underlined the confidence of the FIFA and the international sporting community in the country’s unique capabilities. The prestigious tournament, which takes place in the Emirates from December 6-16, is coming back to the UAE in 2017 and 2018.
The country also successfully staged the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2003 and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2009.
The AFC Asian Cup in 1996 and the Gulf Cup in 1982, 1994 and 2007 are other major sporting events that were hosted by the UAE in the past. The UAE was named the host nation for the 2019 Asian Cup after first hosting in 1996.
English Premier League football giants Manchester City are regular visitors to the Emirate for warm weather training. Their Head Coach, Pep Guardiola, said: “I have had the pleasure to visit Abu Dhabi to enjoy the wonderful hospitality and share the people’s incredible passion for football.”
Additionally, German squad Eintracht Frankfurt is another regular visitor to Abu Dhabi.