As part of its strategic partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE FA is bringing together football legends, celebrities, local dignitaries and VIPs to organise an exhibition football match at Expo 2020 on January 8.
In an interesting twist, four footballing superstars — Patrice Evra, Michel Salgado, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri — have been challenged to recruit their own All-Star squads via social media to compete in the game. Each of the four team captains have been tasked with putting together 15-strong squads — with a catch. Each squad can contain up to eight footballing icons or VIPs; up to three representatives of Expo 2020 pavilions, up to two rising stars; two wild cards (including members of the public); and a minimum of three females must be in the squad.
The event looks to kick off the new year in style with some of the biggest names in the game expected. The event will be held from 4pm to 7pm at Expo 2020 in Dubai with limited access for fans.
The concept for the event was based on ideas generated by the leadership of UAE FA, which had organised a friendly match in January 2021 in the build-up to the launch of its 2038 strategy. The UAE FA has since collaborated with a series of strategic partners to bring some of the biggest personalities in the game together.
Mohammad Hazzam Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the UAE Football Association hailed the event, which kick-starts the UAE football calendar in 2022, as a success story resulting from the partnership between the UAE FA and Expo 2020 established in October.
“The presence of so many football icons and the interest it generates from media and fans under the umbrella of the UAE FA at an iconic setting like Expo 2020 has put UAE football under the global spotlight,” he said, adding that the UAE football governing body constantly pursues partnerships with local and international entities to develop UAE football from a marketing, media and technical perspective in line with the 2038 UAE football strategy. “Initiatives like this, in collaboration with entities like Dubai Cares and ‘Football for Peace’, play an important role in boosting the humanitarian side of the game, which lies at the heart of the UAE FA’s plans,” he added.
Tareq Ghosheh, Chief Events and Entertainment Officer, Expo 2020, said: “We are excited to be collaborating with the UAE FA, and host this All-Star event featuring international football legends, celebrities and local dignitaries. Football speaks to the world in a language that everyone understands. With the power to inspire and unite people from diverse backgrounds, the All-Star event is a perfect addition to Expo 2020’s sports platform, which has been developed with a shared purpose of international cooperation towards a healthier, happier and safer planet.”
The event is backed by Dubai Tourism, Dubai Cares, Football for Peace, the Dubai Sports Council and Adidas.