The Official Draw for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 was held today in Abu Dhabi, throwing up the enitcing possibility of UAE champions Al Jazira meeting Real Madrid in the semi-final.
FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) unveiled who the confirmed clubs, and those likely to join them, could potentially face in the world’s biggest club tournament, which will take from 6 to 16 December in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City and Al Ain’s Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.
To this date four teams have qualified for this year’s edition of the competition: Auckland City FC of New Zealand (OFC Champions League winners), CF Pachuca of Mexico (CONCACAF Champions League ;winners), Real Madrid of Spain (UEFA Champions League winners) and UAE’s host team and Arabian Gulf League winners, Al Jazira. The winners of this year’s AFC Champions League, Copa Libertadores and CAF Champions League will be determined in November.
The opening match will be between Al Jazira and Auckland City, with the winner advancing to the second round where they will meet the AFC Champions League winner.
“We are honoured that the UAE once again is hosting this world-renowned tournament, eight years after hosting it in 2009 and 2010,” said HE Major-General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, Chairman of the Higher LOC, during his welcoming speech. “This tournament will be an extraordinary celebration of professional football, international talent and best in class skill, showcasing the great facilities, hospitality and unique culture our nation offers as a world-class sporting destination.”
“As the number one sport in the world, football has the power to unite communities,” added Al Romaithi. “Football continues to inspire our nation’s journey and we welcome the clubs and fans to the UAE this December for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.”
Football fans were encouraged to purchase their tickets online at FIFA.com/uae2017.
“The tournament is set to be a thrilling occasion and today’s draw has seen some very entertaining games to be played in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain,” said His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee. “We are excited that the UAE has the opportunity to host such a prestigious tournament and we encourage fans to buy tickets at their earliest convenience.”
Commenting on the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017, former Manchester United defender Mikaël Silvestre said; “It is a great opportunity for football fans to witness some of the best football talent in the world. All of the teams participating are champions. It is high quality and the fans are really in for a treat.”