In a symbolic hand-over the FIFA Club World Cup was passed from Japan to the United Arab Emirates. The ceremony took place moments before the Final match, FIFA Deputy Secretary General of Football Zvonimir Boban, FIFA Chief Competitions and Events Officer Colin Smith and Japan Football Association (JFA) President Kohzo Tashima exchanged a jersey with His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and His Excellency Mohammed bin Hazzam Al Dhaheri, General Secretary of the UAE Football Association.
The ceremony ushers in the return of the Club World Cup to the UAE for 2017 and 2018. The UAE was host to the tournament in 2009 and 2010 when thousands of fans filled stadia to watch world-class football.
The ceremony took place inside the iconic International Stadium Yokohama prior to the Final between Japan’s Kashima Antlers and European Champions Real Madrid with excited fans and roaring crowds.
“The Championship in Japan has showcased the warmth of its people and demonstrated their passion for football. I would like to thank FIFA for the opportunity to host the Club World Cup in 2017 and 2018. We are bolstered by their confidence based on the past success of the Championships held in our great nation. This is a tremendous honour, which the UAE, with its deep rooted love of football and sport, will execute flawlessly,” said H.E Aref Alawani.
The hand-over today signals the start of one of the most exciting periods of football in the region.
“We remain single-minded in our commitment to bringing world-class sports events to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and making the UAE an epicenter of sporting events,” added Alawani.
“The UAE welcomes fans to the Club World Cup in 2017 with our traditional Arabic hospitality, state-of-the-art infrastructure and stadia, with world-class travel and leisure options,” concluded Alawani.
For his part, His Excellency Mohammed bin Hazzam UAEFA General Secretary, expressed his happiness and pride in hosting the Club World Cup for 2017/2018 in Abu Dhabi, this indicates the evolution of the UAE in hosting prestigious international sports events, pointing out Abu Dhabi vision to be the capital of the world sport, and all of this achievements due to the unlimited support by the wise leadership in sport sector. He praised the strategic partnership between UAE football association and Abu Dhabi sports Council in organizing these global events.