x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE FA to submit bids for group-age World Cups

Tournament for women included in proposals to be sent to Fifa.

United Arab Emirates' Amer Abdulrahman, left, fights for the ball with Costa Rica's Diego Madrigal during their U-20 World Cup quarter final soccer match at the Cairo International Stadium, in Cairo, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) *** Local Caption *** XTS116_Egypt_United_Arab_Emirates_Costa_Rica_U20_Soccer.jpg
United Arab Emirates' Amer Abdulrahman, left, fights for the ball with Costa Rica's Diego Madrigal during their U-20 World Cup quarter final soccer match at the Cairo International Stadium, in Cairo, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) *** Local Caption *** XTS116_Egypt_United_Arab_Emirates_Costa_Rica_U20_Soccer.jpg

The UAE will submit bids to stage three age-group level World Cups - including a women's tournament - to Fifa tomorrow.

The Football Association hope to land the Under 17 or Under 20 World Cup in 2013, as well as the Under 17 women's event in 2014.

They aim to build a platform for future success on the football field, by borrowing the template employed so auspiciously by Japan.

Japan, who won the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar for the fourth time earlier this month, have a proven record for staging global tournaments in the past, and the UAE regard them as the benchmark.

"There is a possibility we can host these events and this would be very good for the image of football in the UAE," Yousuf Abdullah, the general secretary of the FA, said.

"If we look at the example of Japan, and what they did to raise their levels of football a long time ago, they hosted things like the Under 20 World Cup, the Club World Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

"Hosting things like that helped them raise the standard of football. It helped them develop.

"If you want to improve, it is very important that you host competitions like this."

The UAE reached the quarter-finals of the World Youth Cup - the previous guise of the Under 20 competition - when it was staged on home soil in 2003.

That tournament proved to be a stepping stone to stardom for the likes of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, of Argentina, the Brazilians, Adriano and Dani Alves, and Manchester City's England midfielder James Milner.

The 2003 event was productive for the host nation, too. Ismail Matar, named the Player of the Tournament, has since established himself as the leader of the attack for the senior UAE team.

That competition was staged in seven different venues across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Sharjah, and the proposed competitions will also be played nationwide.

Having also hosted the Club World Cup - which was previously held in Japan for four years - successfully for the past two years in Abu Dhabi, the FA insist they have the pedigree to impress Fifa.

"They know we have experience of staging competitions like this, having staged the Under 20, the Beach Soccer World Cup, and the Club World Cup," Abdullah said. "These are very high-level events, so Fifa know the quality of the UAE."

The FA are aware it is unlikely Fifa will grant all three, but they will be happy to get two, with their best chance probably being the Under 17 World Cup in 2013. Fifa are scheduled to announce their decision on March 3.

"Our member associations often look to utilise these competitions as a catalyst for further promoting and developing football in their countries," Jerome Valcke, the Fifa secretary general, said.

"We have received bids from around the globe, including some member associations who have previously hosted one or more Fifa competitions, and others who are bidding for the first time.

"Once again this bidding process shows the universal appeal of our game."

 

pradley@thenational.ae