Dubai: Arsenal’s much-awaited trip to Dubai will be a windfall of sorts for the sports fans in the UAE, according to one of the main organisers for the event. “This is possibly one of the biggest sporting events for Dubai in a long time. I am sure this visit of Arsenal after more than 42 years is as big as it can get. With Emirates as our main partner, we have managed to have them play in Dubai so that it can fetch the required benefits for sport for the countless fans in the region,” Ahmad Al Khoory, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Nasr told Gulf News.

Unai Emery’s squad is scheduled to land at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport late on March 21 [Thursday] and play a friendly against Al Nasr on March 26 to mark the official opening of the Al Maktoum Stadium. Emery has gone on record to say that the friendly is an important part of his team’s preparations for the remainder of the English Premier League (EPL), starting with their home encounter with Newcastle United on April 1.

The friendly against Al Nasr Club will kick off at 6pm on March 26 with tickets for the game already on sale on Platinum List and at the new stadium. Tickets have been priced at Dhs 100 (Category 3) and Dhs 150 (Category 2).

“For some this may be an image-building exercise, and for others it may be termed as a short training camp for the team. But for us, this is a genuine opportunity for our young players to see some of their heroes in action while marking a historic occasion like the opening of our new stadium,” he added.

Al Khoory further stressed that the entire Gulf region will benefit from the Arsenal visit. “I think as much as we want to give something nice to the Arsenal fans, we also owe it to the next generation that they get such a rare opportunity. This visit is for everyone,” he insisted.

The official, also a Senior Vice-President of Commercial Operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean at Emirates Airline, was pleased to announce that the visit of Arsenal will be all-inclusive. “Dubai is the sports capital of the region and our aim is to ensure we reach out to as many people as possible. While this event will be huge for the UAE and Dubai, we also need to ensure we have a proper engagement from the fans,” Al Khoory related.

“We are in touch with the club [Arsenal] and we are following their protocol. Fortunately, the club has been flexible with a lot of things especially when it comes to special activities around their visit here. We will know further details in the next few days,” he added.