Ras Al Khaimah has been named host of the 2023 Mini Football (WMF) World Cup, a mega international football competition held every two years that attracts thousands of spectators and fans from around the globe.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) won the bid to stage the 2023 tournament with the World Mini Football Federation (WMF) selecting the destination over other shortlisted contenders, including Manila and Budapest, says a press release by RAKTDA. Final dates for the tournament would be announced in the coming weeks.
The tournament will bring together 24 national teams and thousands of spectators to Ras Al Khaimah. The press release adds that the emirate is already playing host to high-profile events including the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, the world’s fastest half marathon which attracts more than 5,000 participants a year, road cycling competition UAE Tour as well as renowned international golf championships, the DP World Tour and the European Tour.
In addition to the significant tourism development and economic benefits that hosting the 2023 WMF World Cup will deliver, RAKTDA says that it believes the tournament will act as a springboard for the promotion of mini football in the UAE, encouraging more residents and visitors to play the sport, in line with the emirate’s objectives to foster liveability as well as engaging with local schools and sports clubs within the local and broader UAE community.
“Winning the bid to host the 2023 WMF World Cup marks another milestone in our strategy to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a destination for athleticism and major sporting events and I would like to thank the World Mini Football Federation for selecting the emirate to stage this prestigious tournament, one sought-after by many cities around the world. We consider this a major win for the community, not only in Ras Al Khaimah, but the UAE and wider Middle East region, and we have the full support of all stakeholders in orchestrating what we believe will be the most comprehensive, collaborative and community engaged WMF Cup tournament to date,” says Raki Phillips, chief executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
“I am excited to announce that the 2023 tournament will take place in Ras Al Khaimah, a highly attractive destination for many reasons, including its proven track record staging major sporting events. What impressed our judging panel was the destination’s compelling and diverse tourism offering, ease of access for our teams and fans; and importantly, its commitment to promoting sports in the community, with the 2023 World Cup throwing the spotlight on mini football in the UAE and regionally, highlighting its positive contribution to the development of society,” says Filip Juda, President of the World Minifootball Federation.
The WMF World Cup is a biennial tournament contested by the senior men’s national teams of World Minifootball Federation (WMF) members. The term ‘minifootball’ means small-sided football open to amateur players, with WMF competitions focused on player development, teambuilding, fair play and inter-relations between millions of minifootball participants globally, with the number players growing significantly in recent years.
The last was staged in Perth, Western Australia, in 2019. With the 2021 tournament, which was due to be staged in Kyiv, Ukraine, postponed in the wake of the pandemic, Ras Al Khaimah is anticipating strong demand from fans planning to attend the 2023 event.