Abu Dhabi: The final countdown is on. Monday marked 50 days until the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018 kicks off on December 12. Coinciding with this milestone, Fifa gave the green light to the two host stadiums in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain as the UAE continues its preparations to welcome the best club sides on the planet.
Abu Dhabi’s famous Zayed Sports City Stadium and Al Ain’s state-of-the-art Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium can now put the finishing touches on preparations for the world’s leading players to take the field, after passing an inspection carried out by the Fifa delegation.
The two venues, already world-class arenas in their own right, were put through a thorough examination, passing key tests across several criteria in order to be confirmed as host stadiums for the seven-team, eight-match tournament, which runs from 12-22 December.
The Fifa team inspected the two stadiums as part of its ongoing work with the Local Organising Committee (LOC), collaborating across several areas including safety, security, structural and technical measures, access control, TV, media, marketing and all areas linked to the competition.
The stadium approvals marked the beginning of the 50-day countdown as excitement builds for the return to the UAE of defending champions Real Madrid and the continental kings from Fifa’s confederations: Concacaf (Central and North America), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia), OFC (Oceania) and Conmebol (South America).
“Today marks a milestone moment as we build towards an exciting 11 days of world-class football tournament in December. Zayed Sports City and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadiums offer fans a great atmosphere and an unforgettable experience. Passing the inspection means they can now put the finishing touches on preparations to give teams, supporters and tournament stakeholders a truly world-class competition,” said Aref Al Awani, Tournament Director LOC, Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018.
With a seating capacity of 43,000, Zayed Sports City Stadium is the largest stadium in the UAE. The Abu Dhabi venue will host the tournament final, as well as the semi-final between Real Madrid and the winners of the match between Concacaf champions CD Guadalajara and the AFC Champions League winners on December 19, followed by the third-place play-off and final on December 22.
Al Ain’s Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium is a 25,000-seat, state-of-the-art stadium and home to the tournament’s host team Al Ain. Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium will stage the tournament opener between Al Ain and OFC champions Team Wellington on December 12, followed by the AFC champions against CD Guadalajara match on December 15 and the quarter-final between the CAF (African) champions and the winners of the first match.