x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Free football for all

Offering all football fans the chance to get their hands on a match ticket was a wise decision.

With tickets handed out for free, the chance to watch the world’s best young footballers in action at the Fifa Under 17 World Cup could not be more attractive.

Admission to all games of the tournament – which concludes on November 8 – is free and the crowds so far in the various venues around the country have been large.

Thousands of fans took advantage of the opportunity on Friday to watch Nigeria clash with Iraq at Dubai’s Rashid Stadium.

Offering fans the chance to get their hands on tickets without charge was a wise decision. After all, as Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister for Culture, Youth and Community Development, has pointed out, the tournament is here in the UAE because “our priority is to engage with the next generation of football stars to celebrate the sport and witness the rise of tomorrow’s legends.”

But not everyone could afford to buy tickets. Free admission allowed large families and people from the whole spectrum of society to attend the matches.

This serves to promote the spirit of sport among the whole population – and professional teams must envy those crowds.