Teams from two of the most famous football clubs in the world are preparing to take to the pitch in Dubai for the first time ever. The Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona Indoor Masters League teams will go head-to-head with four of the UAE’s leading football clubs in an adrenaline-filled five-a-side championship organised by Dubai World Trade Centre in partnership with Dubai Sports Council.
The teams, featuring a host of former Spanish internationals and cup-winners, will battle it out on the turf pitch in Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre each evening from 10 – 12 August. In what promises to be a spectacular display of skill from some of the game’s most flamboyant players, seating for 2,000 spectators will guarantee each team enjoys mass support for every one of their games.
Rick Pudner, CEO, Emirates NBD, commented: “We are pleased to be the strategic partner for Dubai International Indoor Football Championship, which fits perfectly within our role as an ambassador of economic and social progress for the UAE. Emirates NBD continues to support strengthening the event sector’s contribution to Dubai’s economy.”
The International Indoor Football Championship takes place alongside Dubai Sports World, the largest ever indoor sporting event in the UAE, organised by Dubai World Trade Centre in association with Dubai Sports Council. H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Sharif, Secretary General, Dubai Sports Council, said:
"We are glad to work with in partnership with the Dubai World Trade Centre in organising this competition and offer the opportunity to fans to enjoy some of the best local and international teams. This tournament reflects Dubai Sports Council's vision of establishing a distinguished sporting community and forms part of the initiatives in the Council’s 2011-2015 strategic plan to promote sport and organise competitions throughout the year, including summer, in the indoor facilities available in Dubai," said Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, Secretary General of DSC.
"This tournament will be the nucleus of more indoor competitions which use the excellent sports facilities, enhancing Dubai's position as an active city, providing the public with distinctive sports competitions," he added.
F.C. Barcelona Presidency Advisor Josep Maria Fuste said the tournament was an ideal opportunity to illustrate the values sport can instill. “We sincerely appreciate the invitation to take part in the championship and hope that we can make a significant contribution to its success. We constantly strive to promote the ideals and ethics that lie at the heart of all sports and this tournament is a great exercise in bringing together our personalities and nationalities.
A recent study by Harvard University confirmed Barca’s biggest rivals Real Madrid as the most followed football team in the world with around 230 million fans, attracted by the flair of their play and their passion for the game.
“I want to express our sincere thanks for the invitation to participate in this tournament. It is an honor for the club and, as always, the Real Madrid players will look to shine on the field, using the experience and skills they have developed over the years in both club and international matches. We are sure the tournament with the Spanish and UAE clubs will be a great success with some spectacular football and will bring closer ties not only with our clubs, but our countries,” said Alfredo Di Stefano, Honorary President, Real Madrid.”
Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, DWTC, added: “The support of such prestigious clubs is a great endorsement of the inaugural Dubai Sports World and a measure of its potential in the years to come. Dubai is known throughout the world for the success of its world class events and as Dubai Sports World develops, it will attract not only UAE residents and visitors, but encourage even more high-calibre sporting activities in the UAE. The infrastructure and experience Dubai has in organising regional and global events makes it a highly attractive destination and a natural choice for prominent international guests and well as businesses.”