Dubai: Australia’s national football team, the Socceroos, have kicked off Expo 2020 Dubai’s celebration of the Year of Tolerance in 2019 with a ‘crossbar challenge’ to demonstrate the power of unity, tolerance and cooperation in sports.

Playing with Expo 2020 team members and volunteers from different nationalities on the Australia Pavilion plot, located in Expo’s Mobility District, the Socceroos were joined by representatives from the Football Federation Australia and Justin McGowan, Australia’s Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai.

The initiative comes days before the Socceroos are set to compete in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, which begins on Saturday.

Maha Al Gergawi, Director, International Participants at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together millions of people from a range of backgrounds and cultures to connect and have fun together — just as sport can do. Today is a clear example of what can be achieved when people of different ages and nationalities come together, and is the perfect way to kick off Expo 2020’s celebration of the Year of Tolerance.”

McGowan added: “Australia looks forward to supporting the UAE as it kicks off 2019 as the Year of Tolerance. There is no better example of tolerance in action than on the sporting field, where players regardless of background, culture or religion, can take part. We are pleased to support the UAE in delivering the truly global mega event that is Expo 2020.”

Expo 2020 Dubai strongly supports the Year of Tolerance theme for 2019 and will showcase the inclusive and diverse nature of the UAE to the world. A total of 190 countries have already confirmed their participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, one of the highest totals ever for a World Expo.

Australia begin their Asian Cup quest against Jordan in Al Ain on Sunday.