x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Buenos Aires to face London Faberge

Team Buenos Aires were spared an opening meeting with Coutts Team Abu Dhabi, the team they beat at last year’s final, in Tuesday’s draw for the second staging of Coutts Cup Polo at the Palace at the Emirates Palace hotel.

Emirates Palace General Manager Holger Scroth, centre, shakes hands with Coutts co-head Middle East Amir Sadr, left, as City Events CEO Rory Herow sit to their right. The Coutts Cup, which four teams will contest for beginning November 22 at Emirates Palace, is prominently displayed to their left. Christopher Pike / The National
Emirates Palace General Manager Holger Scroth, centre, shakes hands with Coutts co-head Middle East Amir Sadr, left, as City Events CEO Rory Herow sit to their right. The Coutts Cup, which four teams will contest for beginning November 22 at Emirates Palace, is prominently displayed to their left. Christopher Pike / The National

Holders will then face Team Milan Maserati at Palace tournament

ABU DHABI // Team Buenos Aires were spared an opening meeting with Coutts Team Abu Dhabi, the team they beat in last year’s final, in yesterday’s draw for the second staging of Coutts Cup Polo at the Palace at the Emirates Palace hotel.

The defending champions will play Team London Faberge in their first match with Team Milan Masserati versus Coutts to follow at the West Lawn of the hotel on November 22. The final will take place the following day.

The matches take place on a pitch which is one-third smaller than a standard polo field and played in a three-a-side format designed for a fast-paced game under special rules.

“Following the success we had in last year’s inaugural event we expect the entire tournament to be better and more exciting,” Rory Heron, the chief executive of City Events, the organisers, said yesterday. “Team Buenos Aires edged out Coutts Team 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out in the final last year.

“That result has set the tone for the games to come in this exciting format for a polo tournament. We want to make the sport more appealing to people and it has been a huge success. In this format we have the formation of a football game with players on three lines – forward, midfield and defence. And there is no changeover after every goal.

“It is very simple to understand and exciting to watch.”

According to Heron, the team captains will select their players two weeks before the tournament. The teams are expected to fly in some high-calibre players. The entrance, like last season’s tournament, will be restricted to a maximum 1,000 spectators for each day.

“We have made the rules simple for everyone watching the games to understand the game and played at an iconic venue,” said Amir Sadr, co-head of Coutts Middle East. “We expect two exciting days of polo as this format provides a faster and more powerful game. Obviously the teams will be well-balanced to provide that excitement.”

apassela@thenational.ae