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Sun 23 Dec 2018 01:06 PM

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UAE aims to strengthen role in world football

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed met with FIFA's president to discuss closer ties with the governing body

UAE aims to strengthen role in world football
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has discussed plans to strengthen the UAE's role in world football during high-level talks with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who has headed up football's global governing body since 2016.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces welcomed Infantino to the capital as the UAE hosted the Club World Cup tournament for the second year in a row.

The sporting event saw local team Al Ain fights against reigning champions Real Madrid in the final on Saturday.

Following the meeting, which took place at the Al Shati Palace, Sheikh Mohamed highlighted the UAE's goal of encouraging cultural integration through sport by developing closer links with Fifa.

He also stressed the importance of holding the international tournament for the UAE while praising the performance of the participating teams.

In October this year, tournament director of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE's local organising committee (LOC) said the event will focus on profitability and tourism.

Aref Hamed Al Awani said the committee will focus on making a return on its investment by attracting tourists to Abu Dhabi.

“We evaluate two main things: the economic and media impact. The main concern we are looking at is how to get a return from each event we host, but at same time, tourism is very important to us and to the UAE. It’s especially important to Abu Dhabi as it leads to tourism having a larger economic impact for industries such as hotels and restaurants,” he said.