DUBAI - When the coin is tossed at 18:00 local time tomorrow at the Dubai International Stadium before the much-anticipated contest between two cricketing giants, India and Pakistan, cricket’s 2.5 billion fans will once again have the world’s favourite sporting hub to thank for accepting the challenge to host the ongoing 15th edition of the Asia Cup at the last minute with clockwork precision.

Dubai’s world-class sports, hospitality and tourism infrastructure and an unrivalled ability to successfully organise mega-events were instrumental in the UAE’s selection as tournament host. Over 16 days, Dubai plays host to 10 of the 13 Asia Cup fixtures, including the title clash on 11th September. The UAE is hosting the Asia Cup for the fourth time, with Dubai also hosting the title clash in the previous edition, when India beat Bangladesh to lift the Cup in 2018.

H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), said the UAE has always been keen to cooperate and collaborate with the world, and Dubai is proud to offer its infrastructure for Asia Cup fixtures. "Thanks to the vision of our leadership, hosting large-scale international sports events, including the Asia Cup, one of cricket’s biggest contests, reinforces the UAE’s position on the global events map. It is a huge vote of confidence by the international community in our robust infrastructure and event-management capabilities."

Dubai has repeatedly proven its capability of successfully hosting world-class events, including Expo 2020, the largest event ever held in the Arab world. In fact, during the six months of the Expo 2020 (October 2021-March 2022), Dubai hosted more than 30 international sports events, including the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers, cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup, and the European Tour’s ‘Race to Dubai’ finale, the DP World Tour Championship. Different countries participating in Expo 2020 also organised several sports-related events at the Expo’s Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub, featuring some of sports’ biggest names.

"The sports sector is an important contributor to the local economy, part of an ambitious vision to upgrade all parts of the sports ecosystem and increase the sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP. We aim to continue offering amenities that guarantee Dubai and the UAE’s sports leadership at regional and international levels.

"The emirate has emerged as the destination of choice for global tourists, business visitors and sports communities. The world has reposed confidence in our ability to welcome everyone safely and securely. We are grateful for our leadership’s vision and the efforts of our frontline heroes for this accomplishment," Sheikh Mansoor said.

Along with trade, tourism and culture, sport plays a critical role in the growth of any global city. Dubai’s leadership sees sports as a strategic economic development driver that significantly impacts tourism and the emirate’s global reputation. Today, Dubai is home to world-class facilities and venues. The city regularly hosts local, regional and international events that welcome elite athletes and grassroots participation, including homegrown talent.

The contribution of the sports sector to the national and local economy continues to grow, cementing Dubai’s status as a global hub for sports while attracting foreign investment and creating more jobs for the UAE’s talented youth.

The tournament will see Asia’s biggest cricketing stars from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong vying for the coveted Cup in the UAE, underscoring Dubai’s status as one of the world’s safest, most reliable, and most prominent destinations for international sporting events. More than 1 billion viewers all over the world are expected to watch the India-Pakistan match on international platforms.

Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed reiterated that DSC views international sporting events in Dubai with absolute earnestness and ensures that the Council leaves no stone unturned to make every event a stellar success.

With H.H. Sheikh Mansoor as its Chairman, the Council’s Board of Directors comprises several strategic Dubai departments that undertake a 360-degree view of sporting events management. DSC Board members include representatives from Infrastructure and Urban Planning, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Police, and Dubai Culture, among others.

Some of Dubai’s major annual sporting events include the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, Dubai Tour, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai World Cup, DP World Tour Championship, and Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, among others.

In addition to being a destination of choice for year-long sports tournaments, Dubai has also emerged as the preferred training venue for the global sports fraternity. The city now boasts several top teams – from football and cricket to boxing and golf – visiting Dubai’s world-class training facilities throughout the year to recharge their skills and prepare for the various tournaments and title clashes. Dubai was also a preferred location for international athletes to train ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Given the leadership’s unbridled ambitio to emerge a winner in all spheres, the city’s strategic location, willingness to help, robust infrastructure, and the competence of its youth, it is not surprising that Dubai has emerged as the world’s preferred hub for sports.