Dubai gears up for World Cup bid

Football expert says the emirate is slowly positioning itself to bring the beautiful game's ultimate prize to the Gulf.

  • E-Mail
By  John Irish Published  April 22, 2004

It’s a long way off yet, but according to Duncan Revie, CEO of Soccerex, an annual football trade show, Dubai is slowly positioning itself to win the FIFA World Cup. The son of legendary Leeds United soccer star, Don Revie, was announcing the schedule for the upcoming conference scheduled for November 29-30 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. “The World Cup is a distinct possibility,” said Revie. “The infrastructure is excellent here and with the current rotation system, it should also have the football infrastructure.” Speculation on whether Dubai would stake a claim for the World Cup increased last year when the emirate announced the creation of Sports City as part of the US $5 billion Dubailand development project. Within the sports section, former European soccer champions, Manchester United, have already signed up to create a football academy. However, it is Soccerex’s new slogan, which in many ways shows Dubai’s intent. According to Revie, the ‘Love Football, Love Dubai’ tag, will bring to the fore Dubai’s thirst for soccer. “The whole point of this is to start a programme to bring the World Cup here,” said Revie. “I think they want to start circulating the Dubai name and making it synonymous with football around the world.” A further sign is Soccerex’s new patronage. Formerly under the auspices of HH Sheikh Saeed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the event will now come under HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While Sheikh Mohammed is better known for his love of horses, his son, Sheikh Rashid, is said to be a soccer fanatic. Whatever happens, Dubai will have time to prepare. FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced his intention last year of rotating the World Cup from continent to continent. With Japan and South Korea staging it for Asia in 2002, the next opportunity for Dubai would be 2018. Meanwhile, following on from an estimated Dhs 1 billion ($270million) worth of business at Soccerex 2003, the organisers announced the first time inclusion of the Australian and US football federations. Among the speakers at this year’s event will be Sepp Blatter, celebrating 100 years of FIFA, Ian Todd, global vice president of sports marketing at Nike, and football business Trevor Birch.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code