Tournament hopes to build on popularity of rugby sevens

AC Milan, Arsenal and Olympiakos are among eight clubs to compete in the first Emirates Dubai Football Sevens, a seven-a-side event, over three days in March.

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DUBAI // AC Milan, Arsenal and Olympiakos are among eight clubs who will send sides to compete in the first Emirates Dubai Football Sevens competition in March. They will play in the tournament - a three-day competition of seven-a-side football - which will also involve up to 300 amateur sides, as well as a six-team "legends" event. Ian Rush, Liverpool's all-time record goalscorer, will lead a side of Anfield veterans, including former England players Steve McManaman and Rob Jones.

Michael Thomas, who also played for Liverpool, will head up Arsenal's challenge, while there will also be sides representing Scotland's Rangers and Celtic. Rush said: "We want to win the competition, but it is all about entertainment for the supporters that come to watch. " Organisers hope the tournament, which will be staged at The Sevens on March 11-13, can echo the popularity of the annual Dubai Rugby Sevens showpiece.

The competition is the brainchild of Dean O'Grady, chief administrator of the Dubai Amateur Football League for the past four years. He said: "We have the Dubai Rugby Sevens, so what about a football sevens? It is a fantastic opportunity for the future of football at all levels in the UAE." A three-day season pass for the event costs Dh200, while teams can still enter the amateur competitions by registering online at www.dubaifootball7s.com.

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