Iran team celebrating
Iran team celebrating their victory in Dubai Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: The top official for global beach soccer has assured that November plans will stay in place for the 2020 Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai.

Joan Cusco, President of Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW), organisers of the annual tournament since 2011, told Gulf News that “everything is on schedule for a successful 2020 edition” that was scheduled to be held from November 3-7.

Coupling it with a safety message for Dubai and UAE residents, Cusco disclosed that work has already started on inviting some of the top teams in the world to ensure yet another successful tournament on Dubai’s Kite Beach on the Jumeirah coastline.

“Yes, we are ready for the tournament as scheduled in the first week of November,” Cusco told Gulf News from Barcelona.

“We are working hard and everything is looking good at the moment. All teams are telling us that they want to come and play in Dubai. There is a lot of enthusiasm and we should be ready to be perfect hosts for one of the biggest highlights on our calendar.”

The last beach soccer tournament prior to the pandemic was the Munialito De Clubes in Moscow from February 12-16. SC Braga of Portugal went on to thrash hosts BSC Spartak Moscow 8-3 to be crowned champions for clubs before the coronavirus pandemic swept the world forcing a total stop on all sporting activities around the globe.

The next big tournament scheduled is the Euro Winners Cup and Euro Winners Challenge 2020 that has been tentatively fixed for the Praia da Vila beach in Nazare, Portugal. As in previous editions, the Euro Winners Cup will have both the men and women participating from June 1 to 7.

“There is no doubt that we are in a very special moment right now, and we need to follow the instructions given to us by authorities,” Cusco said.

“Everyone is worried about safety due to the current COVID-19 situation. But all this will pass and once again we will be back on the beach. Everyone should remember that the authorities are taking all these measures because of our safety, and we need to just stay indoors to be safe,” he added.

The Dubai Intercontinental Cup is second only to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup as the largest and most prestigious event on the international beach soccer circuit. The Dubai competition is an invitation-only tournament with either Iran, Brazil or Russia winning the crown in the nine-year history of the competition so far.

“We will surely have the best teams from around the world,” Cusco offered when asked about the countries that are being invited.

“We have new world champions Portugal on the list for sure. And of course, the rest of the big ones will also be only too willing to come and play in Dubai in November,” he added.

Iran successfully defended their title in November with a 6-3 win over Spain on Kite Beach, Jumeirah. The Iranians, who had earlier won the tournament in 2013 and 2018, were simply the better side before a packed stadium with Amirhossein Akbari winning the golden boot with six goals.