By Andy Sambidge
Football's world governing body says UAE will host tournament to bring together champion clubs from six continents
The UAE has been awarded the hosting rights for the FIFA World Club Cup 2017-2018, the international governing body of football has announced.
The tournament takes place in mid-December of every year, and brings together the champion clubs from each of the six continental confederations, as well as the national league champion from the host country.
Local champion clubs Al Ahli Sports Club and Aljazira Sports Club have taken part in the two editions of the tournament which have previously been hosted by the UAE.
Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Honorary Chairman of the UAE Football Association, said the acceptance of the UAE’s bid to host the FIFA Club World Cups in 2017 and 2018, along with the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, confirms the country’s ability to organise and host major world sports championships.
"The UAE will take the world by surprise and beat all expectations when it hosts the three prominent world sports events, which will add another feather to the UAE's cap," he said in comments published by news agency WAM.
The win, he said, is a source of pride throughout the Arab World and its impact will go beyond the sports sector to underpinning international confidence in the UAE, its leadership and progress.
The UAE was, as expected, named hosts of the 2019 Asian Cup earlier this month after beating outsiders Iran to stage the expanded 24-team tournament.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the safe bet decision after a meeting of their executive committee in Bahrain.
The UAE has proved to be a safe pair of hands in organising global soccer events, having staged the 2009 and 2010 FIFA Club World Cups and the FIFA under-17 World Cup in 2013.