Abu Dhabi: The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 has launched the ‘It’s My Game’ programme with the goal of inspiring women across the UAE to embrace different roles in football and the wider sports industry.

It’s My Game aims to encourage women participation in football as athletes, fans and sports leaders and leave a lasting legacy of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. The programme was kicked off with a panel discussion exploring ways women can play a more active role in the football industry.

The It’s My Game programme will host a series of events across the UAE in the next four weeks, with some of the country’s biggest and most influential opinion leaders taking part in the conversation. In Al Ain, the discussion was followed by football action on the pitch of the renowned Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, which also provided participants with an opportunity to enjoy a friendly game of football.

Speaking about the importance of pursuing her passion for football, Nabba Al Dabbagh, football commentator and YouTuber, said: “For me it’s something I love and it’s such a huge part of my life that despite sometimes having setbacks or receiving negative comments, I still believe in what I do and the impact I am making.

“I have young girls reach out to me on social media and tell me they are inspired by me and want to follow a similar path and I make sure I do everything I can to support that, because I have a platform and a voice and therefore it’s responsibility to encourage more girls to go after their passion in sport, no matter what people may initially think”.

Moya Dodd, the chairperson of the AFC Women’s Committee, has seen the It’s My Game campaign launched throughout Asia, and said: “AFC’s It’s My Game initiative has seen significant changes in the approach to female football and sports inclusion. Through significant work with governing bodies, federations and dedicated individuals throughout Asia, women have been able to tell their sporting stories and inspire others to get involved. We hope that this trend continues to thrive across Asia.”

Following on the success of launch event at Al Ain, the additional sessions will be held over the coming weeks in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. Places are limited and those who wish to join coming free sessions can sign up now at afcitsmygame.com.