Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi: We are thrilled to welcome the world to Abu Dhabi for Fifa Club World Cup
Seven-team tournament kicks off Wednesday with hosts Al Ain playing Team Wellington
Major General Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council board of directors and head of the 2018 Fifa Club World Cup Local Organising Committee, has welcomed players, team officials and fans from six continental qualifiers to the UAE.
Team Wellington, the champions of Oceania, touched down in the Emirates last week and will play the tournament's opening match, a play-off against the Al Ain, on Wednesday.
Concacaf champions Guadalajara and African Champions League winners Esperance de Tunis touched down in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, while European champions Real Madrid, who are looking to win an unprecedented three Club World Cups in a row, Copa Libertadores holders River Plate and Asian Champions League winners Kashima Antlers will soon follow.
“After a long qualification process spanning domestic leagues and dramatic continental cup competitions, the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018 line-up is complete,” Al Romaithi said.
“In addition to our national hosts, Al Ain FC, the tournament will welcome international teams and passionate fans from Argentina, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Tunisia. The world is coming to the UAE and we are thrilled to be able to demonstrate the country’s hospitality and capacity to host world-class sporting events to spectators from every corner of the planet. We want everyone to make it a tournament to remember.”
Al Romaithi, who last week announced his candidacy for the Asian Football Confederation presidency, urged those travelling to the UAE to support their teams to also make time to sample the country's rich history, heritage and culture.
“Inevitably, incoming fans will want to focus on their teams’ matches, that is completely natural. However, we encourage all fans to explore the hospitality of the country – from the rich tapestry of ancient heritage sites, to the modern cultural institutions in both Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and beyond,” he added.
“In this, the Year of Zayed, we are determined to highlight our tolerant and inclusive society to our global guests. We want our visitors to understand the UAE’s history by visiting Qasr Al Muwaji in Al Ain, the birthplace of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, our country’s President, or the newly-restored Qasr Al Hosn Fort in our capital city, the ancestral home of the Al Nahyan family and the symbolic heart of Abu Dhabi. Fans can also experience the majestic beauty of our modern cultural institutions, such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island.”
Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018: Team-by-team guide and seven players to watch
Aref Al Awani: Every game is a big game at the Fifa Club World Cup
Updated: December 11, 2018 07:00 PM