The UAE’s winning ways

The Club World Cup’s return to our shores gives football fans another reason to cheer

The UAE can look forward to more world-class football, like this recent friendly between Melbourne City and Al Jazira. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National
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This country’s football fans have had much to celebrate recently, particularly with our national side’s third-place finish in the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia and the subsequent announcement that the UAE had won the right to host the 24-team tournament in four years time. Fifa, football’s world governing body, also revealed last week that the UAE will stage the Club World Cup in 2017 and 2018, beating competing bids from Brazil and Japan. Abu Dhabi previously hosted the eight-game, seven-team tournament in 2009 and 2010.

As anyone who went to either of those tournaments will recall, the Club World Cup has a special feel about it, bringing together the champions from six continents and the Arabian Gulf League’s top team. Maybe there is an opportunity this time around to broaden the staging arrangements and hold some of the games outside the capital. The striking and ultra-modern Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, for instance, is a ground fit for any of football’s elite.