The best clubs in the world are coming to UAE next year
Sadly, it looks like none of the games will be played in Dubai.December 20, 2016
Hey UAE, still a little bitter you have to book flights to Qatar in 2018 to catch a couple of World Cup games? Well here’s a silver lining of sorts: the UAE will host the FIFA Club World Cup next year and the year after that.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware, the Club World Cup is an annual tournament organised by FIFA where champion clubs from each of the six continental confederations, as well as the national league champion from the host country, duke it out for the title of best football club in the world.
Granted it’s no World Cup, Champions League or Europa League level tournament, but it’s still one where the best go head-to-head and although European teams tend to dominate the competition, it’s still fiercely fought.
Don’t believe us? Take this year’s final for instance. Real Madrid needed to dig deep into extra time before Cristiano Ronaldo – fresh from picking up his fourth Ballon d’Or – found another gear to carry Madrid to the cup.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring for the Galacticos, but Japan's well-organized and dangerous Kashima Antlers side were not willing to give up. The Japanese team equalised and even took the lead for a while before Ronaldo netted his first of three to take the game to extra time.
Sounds rather routine, doesn’t it? It wasn’t. Things could have turned out a whole lot differently had the referee shown some backbone and presented Sergio Ramos a second yellow just before the 90-minute whistle when the scoreline was tied at 2-2. At the time, Madrid was struggling to keep up and probably would not have been able to cope with losing their best defender.
What we’re trying to tell you is that the Club World Cup, even with its “lesser” teams, can be very entertaining. After UAE was confirmed to host the competition, Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council said, “We remain single-minded in our commitment to bringing world-class sports events to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and making the UAE an epicentre of sporting events."
We’ll have to wait for official word, but his statements insinuate that the tournament may not be coming to Dubai. When the competition came to the UAE in 2009 and 2010, matches were played in the Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, the home ground of Al Jazira Club. So perhaps we’re just sticking to tradition.