x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Free tickets to UAE President's Cup Final for loyal fans

Al Ahli football club has said they will buy all the tickets allocated to their fans and give them away. Not to be outdone, the other finalists, Al Shabab, has promised to do the same.

This is the first President’s Cup final that a club has bought all the seats, and free transport will be provided for Al Ahli fans. Lee Hoagland / The National
This is the first President’s Cup final that a club has bought all the seats, and free transport will be provided for Al Ahli fans. Lee Hoagland / The National

DUBAI // Football fans need not worry about the price of tickets for next week's President's Cup Final - they're likely to be free.

Al Ahli football club said yesterday they would buy all the tickets allocated to their fans and give them away. Not to be outdone, the other finalists, Al Shabab, promised to do the same.

The two Dubai teams will contest the final at the 43,000-capacity Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi on May 28.

"We're waiting for the FA to gives us the quota on how many tickets. We have made the decision to buy all the tickets," Al Ahli's chief executive Ahmed Khalifa Hammad said yesterday.

"But we don't know how many seats it is. It could be half the stadium, but we don't know yet," Mr Hammad said. "There is a meeting with the FA today or tomorrow."

Al Shabab's team manger Obaid Hubaitha said he had not heard about Al Ahli's move but if their rivals did it, they would do the same for their fans.

"I don't have any information to give, but most probably we'll do the same," he said. "Until now, we don't have any tickets but we want to fill the stadium for the match for our fans."

Mr Hammad said the tickets would be available to Emiratis and expatriates and the club will provide free transport to the stadium.

"The match falls on a Tuesday, which is a working day for both students and employees and we will try to make the trip to Abu Dhabi and back again as easy possible," he said. "Because most people are working and we want to make sure to give as much support to our fans and the players."

Al Ahli plans a media campaign to attract more fans in the run-up to the final. The club has won the President's Cup seven times, most recently in 2008.

Mr Hammad's main concern ahead of the game is how fans will behave on the night. Last month, during a match between Al Ahli and Al Ain, an Al Ahli fan threw a mobile-phone battery charger at an assistant referee's head.

"Yes, we have the best followers," said Mr Hammad. "We have good fans and we hope the fans will show a clean and strong support because all the sheikhs and officials will be there.

"Fans should show fair support and should be very clean without any problems or any bad attitude."

It is the first time in a President's Cup final that a club has bought all the seats for their fans.

In January, when the UAE qualified for the Gulf Cup final against Iraq in Bahrain, fans were not only given free tickets to the game but free flights and airport transfers too, after a directive by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.

eharnan@thenational.ae