Aref Hamad Al Awani, Director of the Asian Cup "The UAE 2019" and Director of the Executive Office, said that the regional championship that begins next Saturday will represent a platform to promote messages of tolerance from the UAE to the world, and coincides with the beginning of the Year of Tolerance.
In his exclusive statements to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the sidelines of the interaction with the media, that took place today at the headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to talk about the final preparations for the championship, he said, "We are happy to organise the largest sports event in the history of the Asian Championship," while adding that all the teams were working hard and focussing on the launch on 5th January, 2019.
He highlighted the fact that the championship promotional team visited the embassies of the participating countries and provided the necessary support and services to their citizens to enjoy cheering for their teams during the championship.
With regard to the stadiums, Al Awani said that the Zayed Sports City Stadium, which will be hosting the opening match of the tournament, was developed by planting a new turf on the three outdoor courts, which were later transferred to the main stadium, using an advanced technology used for the first time in the country and the region.
He also noted that the audience areas outside the stadium were developed and expanded in order to provide the audience with the opportunity to enjoy the championship.
He said that the stadiums hosting the championship games were redeveloped and included measures for audience safety and security. It also redeveloped the parking areas as well as increased the areas for journalists covering the championship.
He said that 24 training fields were allocated to the participating teams in all host cities in addition to one for referees, noting that these fields were of the same quality as those being used for the games.
"About 2,000 cards have been issued to representatives of the print media, as well as audio-visual media who have the rights to broadcast the championship and around 40 hotels have been allotted for the stay of media representatives," he added.
Al Awani said that a different process had been used to promote the championship and it was dependent on new promotion methods including "Outdoor" advertisements and social media.
He thanked the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship for cooperating with the organising committee and introducing a new seal for the championship for the spectators arriving from all over the world. A souvenir dirham for the championship will be introduced as well, in cooperation with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. They are also coordinating with the Emirates Post to issue a special stamp for the championship.
He added that more than 2,300 news items were broadcast about the championship in different media outlets, and it had witnessed nearly 500 days of interactive activities with visits to nearly 93 schools where they have reached out to 42,900 students and supplied them with all necessary information about the championship.
He noted that many games were already fully booked, like the one between Syria and Palestine, and between Iran and Iraq, in addition to two games where Saudi Arabia is playing. Nearly 50 percent of the tickets of the opening game between the UAE and Bahrain were already sold out.
Al Awani stressed that they were all going to support the national team in this regional championship, the largest championship in the Asian continent history.
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup "The UAE 2019" takes place from 5th January to 1st February 2019, on eight football arenas in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah cities.
© Copyright 2019 Emirates News Agency (WAM)