Thursday 22 February 2024, 15:10

Gianni Infantino meets Emirati FA President and foresees a bright future for the country's young players

  • The meeting was the first since Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan’s election last year

  • United Arab Emirates is staging the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2024 Dubai™

  • FIFA President says the hosting shows the UAE’s commitment to the beautiful game

Gianni Infantino has met the recently-elected President of the United Arab Emirates Football Association (UAEFA), President Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, for the first time and said that the country is offering a bright future to young people with a football dream. The meeting took place during the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2024 Dubai™, which is taking place in Dubai from 15-25 February, and Mr Infantino said that the hosting of the tournament was a demonstration of the UAEFA's commitment to football. The country previously staged the tournament in 2009, also in Dubai, and was the venue for the FIFA Club World Cup 2021™ where Chelsea defeated Palmeiras in the final.

"It was my pleasure to meet United Arab Emirates Football Association (UAEFA) President H.E. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan for the first time since his election and we discussed football development in his beautiful country. I am in no doubt that football in UAE is moving in the right direction under his able leadership," the FIFA President said. "Hosting the ongoing FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is a testament to UAEFA's commitment to our beautiful game and I was pleased to hold constructive conversations on the roadmap to what looks like a very promising future for young girls and boys with a football dream here. Good luck to the UAEFA and FIFA will always be present to support you." Gianni Infantino has also met the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, since arriving in the country. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan was elected as the UAEFA President on 8 September 2023.

The UAEFA has used FIFA Forward funding to renovate its technical centre in Dubai, complete with floodlights that illuminate pitches used by men, women and youth team players. This infrastructure investment forms part of a wider plan within the UAEFA which includes details such as adopting a higher intensity style of play, as well as a nutrition programme tailored to each player. Currently, the UAEFA is building a new education centre within its headquarters which will include an auditorium, fitness science centre, football library, VAR workstation, media studio, classrooms and other commercial spaces. It is implementing a women’s development programme and has joined the FIFA Talent Development Scheme.