Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017: Abu Dhabi aims to raise the benchmark

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Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017: Abu Dhabi aims to raise the benchmark
The long-awaited official Mascot of the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017, a gazelle nicknamed 'Dhabi', made his first public appearance, since 2010, at Yas Mall on Tuesday

Abu Dhabi - Fans in their hundreds gather at Yas Mall to witness the unveiling of the official mascot

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 27 Jun 2017, 8:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 30 Jun 2017, 12:27 AM

Fans in their hundreds gathered at Yas Mall to witness the unveiling of the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017's official mascot. And it didn't disappoint as 'Dhabi' the gazelle took the centre stage.
The mascot, first showcased in Club World Cup 2009-10, represents the UAE culture, Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, chairman of the Higher Local Organising Committee, said.
"There is small modification in the look of the mascot," he said as 'Dhabi' ran around with legions of fans following behind.
Al Romaithi noted there are lots of supporters for big European clubs and Real Madrid will be the top attractions. "I am not one among them," Al Romaithi, a Barcelona fan, said.
The venues - Zayed Sports City and Hazza Bin Zayed stadiums - are 'ready' to host the matches. The Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017 will be held from December 6 to 16.
The upgradation in Al Ain stadium will finish in two months. The sub-committees are taking care of stadiums and hospitality segments, Al Romaithi said. "We are waiting for final list of clubs. One month prior to the tournament, we will host a workshop with all club managers. We have done this before and don't have any problem this time," he said highlighting the UAE's experience and ease of hosting world-class events. "We know how to handle Fifa requirements."
Apart from Real Madrid, New Zealand's Auckland City FC and Mexico's CF Pachuca are among the qualifiers and will join four other champions to compete in eight title-deciding matches. The UAE clubs Al Jazira and Al Ain are also in the mix.
The tournament will see many roadshows being held across the seven emirates. These roadshows and promotions, Al Romaithi said, will help avoid the 'setbacks' of previous tournament hosted in the Capital. "The big crowd back then was only for semifinals and finals. This year, we are hoping to fill the stadium from the first match itself. It is a challenge but promotional events should help spread the word."
Meanwhile, LOC tournament director Aref Hamad Al Awani said tickets sales will easily cross the previous edition hosted by the UAE.
"The marketing plans will gather steam from September," Al Awani said.
The mascot 'Dhabi' will visit schools, malls, Pro-League clubs and 75 locations in all as part of promotion.
The mascot, he said, is a symbol of Abu Dhabi's history and heritage - just as 'the beautiful game'.
There will be two mobile roadshows - Excitement and Experience - touring the UAE in 200 days and will feature a variety of different interactive zones. More than 200,000 people are expected to take part in these activities. The four-day 'Experience' in Yas Mall is already buzzing with enthusiasts from the sundry football academies and will run till July 1.
Al Awani said such tournament will help boost Abu Dhabi's image to host top sporting events.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com



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