Football in the UAE: ‘A footnote to society’ growing to become an international force

UAE club Al Ain made the FIFA Club World Cup final on Saturday, where they faced the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid. The score aside, it was a historic day for football in the UAE, and also football in the rest of the surrounding nations. 

For many nations in the world, football is the bread of life. When you think of football in South America, for example, it is easy to imagine children playing football without organisational structure: walking down to the local park with a battered football and playing football, just for the sake of it. Not necessarily with friends, not even with goals, just kicking a ball about, because that’s a way of life. In some Asian nations, it is the same. For football fans worldwide, football is a way in – it allows fans to enter a world that they become embroiled in. For other nations, it is a way out – a way to escape from every day life, a footnote to society.

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