Dubai to host Beach Soccer Cup

Dr Ahmed Al Sharif (centre), secretary-general of Dubai Sports Council addressing the press during the launch of the Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup to be held in Dubai. (SUPPLIED)

Dubai will host the inaugural Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup at 'The Walk' in JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) from November 22 to 26.

The five-day event will welcome eight national teams of the world’s top beach footballers from UAE, Brazil, Russia, Oman, Tahiti, Nigeria, Mexico and Switzerland. Teams will compete for the first major title after the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup held in Italy in September, where Russia upset 2009 Beach Soccer World Cup Dubai Champions Brazil in an epic final.
The draw for the event was conducted by Alex Soriano, the event manager, in the presence of Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, secretary-general of the Dubai Sports Council, and Joan Cusco, CEO of Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW).

Hosts UAE, seeded in Group A, were drawn with Russia and Tahiti while Nigeria Brazil, Oman, Mexico and Switzerland were drawn in group B.

Dr Al Sharif said they were not only delighted but proud to host the event after successfully staging the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in 2009.

He said the beach soccer event will be a success as it is being held with the support of His Highness UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and UAE Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the patronage of the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

"The honour of being named third best sports city in the world is not only a success for the Emiratis but also for all those who reside in Dubai," Dr Al Sharif said.

Cusco said Fifa wants this event to be a celebration of the successful World Cup Dubai staged in 2009.

"I've built a special relationship with people here in Dubai. When we wanted to find a host for the Intercontinental Cup, we approached Dubai Sports Council, which readily agreed to host the event," said Cusco.

"This is a unique cup. Even though the event is smaller (than the World Cup) the potential is bigger and I want this event to be a celebration of the World Cup success," he added.

For the first three days, four matches will be played daily on a round robin basis. The best two from each group will clash in the semifinal with the final taking place on November 26.

Samsung’s three year partnership with Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW), the organisation responsible for the founding and growth of the sport of beach soccer, will support the development of competitive beach soccer in Dubai and the Gulf Region.

“Beach soccer is an extremely fast growing and dynamic sport in the UAE and this partnership demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development of youth and sports in the region and our passion for the game of football,” said Marco Vocale, Head of Corporate Marketing, Samsung Gulf Electronics.

“An event such as the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup 2011 is a great opportunity to connect with consumers and give back to communities in a fun and engaging way. Once again, Samsung is taking ownership of the sports platform a step further by creating new and engaging experiences that meet the passion and interests of youth today.”

Cusco said: “This involvement and contribution from a company like Samsung Gulf Electronics will bring a new level of excitement and experience to beach football fans and an opportunity to connect with people across the region.”

Entry to the event is free and runs for five days with music from local DJ´s, Canary Islands Cheerleaders and various Beach Soccer Clinics, Foundation activities, promotions and giveaways.