Countdown to Fifa club world cup UAE 2009 kicks offIn a landmark ceremony at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi this morning, Tuesday 7 April, His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Honorary President of the UAE Football Association and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and FIFA Secretary General, Jérôme Valcke, unveiled the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 Official Emblem. UAE FA President, His Excellency Mohammed Khalfan Al-Rumaithi, and General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, His Excellency Mohammed Ebrahim Al Mahmood, were also in attendance to see giant banners unfurled from the stadium roof to the pitch below, with the FIFA Club World Cup Trophy also on display for the first time.The FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 presented by TOYOTA will take place in Abu Dhabi from 9-19 December 2009 and the winning team of the current UFL (UAE Football League) season will be invited to compete alongside the world’s best clubs at the tournament.* The seven teams will compete over the course of eight matches for a prize fund of 16.5 million USD, with the winners earning 5 million USD.The matches will be played in Abu Dhabi’s biggest stadiums, Zayed Sports City Stadium (approximately 50,000 capacity) and Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium (approximately 42,000 capacity), and both stadiums are currently undergoing extensive refurbishment in preparation for the tournament. His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Honorary President of the UAE Football Association and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said “The UAE and Abu Dhabi look forward to welcoming the greatest clubs from every continent to our home. There is a deep and historic passion for football in the UAE and we are keen as a member of the global football family to play our part in contributing to the evolution of this prestigious competition. “Preparations are underway to stage a magnificent tournament later this year. As hosts, our ambition is that one of its legacies will be an even greater amount of youth participation in football, inspired by the skill and athleticism of the teams and the excitement that this world-class event will bring.”The newly unveiled FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 Official Emblem features authentic Arabic calligraphy of the words “The Emirates” contained within a dome of red and orange hues to symbolically represent the combination of football with the warmth of the Arabian sun and the nation’s celebrated heritage. The Official Emblem will be the iconic symbol of the tournament and will dress the host venues, appear on advertising and marketing materials in the UAE and across the globe, as well as on all official tournament merchandise.
“We are very much looking forward to the next two years in the United Arab Emirates,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. “Football in the country is hugely popular and these are exciting times for the UAE FA. UAE teams will take part in two FIFA World Cups at U17 and U20 level in 2009, whilst at club level this has been the first season of the new Professional League."The first team to qualify for FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 will be from CONCACAF at the end of April. The O-League champions from Oceania follow on 3 May, with the UEFA Champions League Final on 27 May. The South American champions will be crowned on 8 July and the final two teams will qualify via the AFC Champions League and CAF Champions League in early November. “This will be a great moment for football in the UAE. The climate, the facilities and the local hospitality - everything will be perfect to create a top quality competition. It will be the opportunity of a lifetime for one UFL team and its players to compete here at home against the world’s best clubs in December,” said Ismael Matar, member of the UAE National Team and Al-Wahda FC.