Emirates, the official airline partner of the Asian Football Confederation, AFC, and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 has flown the iconic AFC Asian Cup trophy to Dubai ahead of the much-anticipated tournament.
The trophy travelled from Tokyo, making a stop in Hong Kong and continuing on EK 383 before arriving in Dubai.
The AFC Asian Cup is the most prestigious national team event in Asia and one of the most widely viewed sporting events in the world. It is being held on UAE soil for the first time since 1996. Emirates has been the official airline and partner of the AFC since 2002 and has sponsorship rights to all its tournaments, including the AFC Champions League, AFC Cup and the AFC Asian Cup, as well as a number of women’s and youth events. The airline aims to connect with people with their love for sports, and in this case, through football during the highly anticipated tournament.
Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Emirates said, "We are delighted with our partnership with the AFC and the upcoming tournament will provide a great opportunity to connect with football fans in our home, as well as audiences across Asia who are cheering for their national teams. We are keen to take a major role in connecting cities through our network and bringing football fans to the event and experience it in real-time. We also aim to further support the UAE’s status as a world-class sporting hub and a centre for international sporting events."
The AFC Asian Cup trophy has been specially designed by world-renowned silversmiths and will replace the old trophy that has been in use since the first tournament in 1956. The trophy, which was unveiled at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final Draw in Dubai in May, is inspired by the lotus flower, which symbolises peace throughout Asia, and the five petals represent the five Regional Associations under the AFC.
Every participating nation is represented by their local communities that reside in the multi-national and multi-cultural melting pot that is the UAE, and Emirates will be engaging with many of these communities through a number of initiatives as they prepare to rally and support their national teams over the course of the four-week tournament.
Emirates’ support of football includes shirt sponsorships of leading European and international clubs like AC Milan, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Hamburger SV, Olympiacos, Benfica SL, and Arsenal in a deal which includes naming rights to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. The airline is also the title sponsor of The Emirates FA Cup in England.