Specialist coaching sessions, weekly tournaments, cooled indoor pitches and a dodgems-style version of the game where players don plastic bubble suits, are all making ‘Football World’ one of the most popular attractions at this year’s Summer in Abu Dhabi
festival at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)
With synthetic astro turf and sand options both measuring 15 x 20 metres, Football World’s two pitches are perfect for a four or five-a-side friendly kick-about. Allocated match times of 10 minutes on the astro surface and seven minutes on sand - where players must play barefoot – ensure everyone gets a kick, while weekend tournaments run on the astro pitch on Fridays and the sand surface on Saturdays. The weekly winners will be invited back for an end-of-festival showdown to find out the overall champions.
Specialist tuition from three youth coaches from Ahdaaf Sports Club (Mohamed Fouda, Mustafa Salah and Karim Hussain teach the basics of dribbling and shooting on the astro pitch) that run daily from 6-8pm have also attracted thousands of youngsters harbouring dreams of turning pro.
Away from football’s conventional formats, there is also the option of Bumper Ball: a three-versus-three version of the ‘beautiful game’ where players wear inflatable plastic suits. The fun-focused concept turns football into a dodgems-style contest where players can crash into each other at full speed without the risk of injury. The suits, which take three-to-four minutes to put on, can only be worn on the astro pitch.
Elsewhere at ADNEC, the all-new ‘Adventure World’ will find a champion who completes the 11 ‘telematch’-style activities in the fastest time; ‘Career World’ lets kids can dress up and try their hands at any one of 12 dream careers, and ‘Show World’ - a specially-constructed, 120-capacity theatre - will feature twice-daily shows by international favourites such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora The Explorer, as well as Marvel’s Thor, Wolverine and Dr. Doom.
ADNEC entry rates are AED 20 (US$ 5.5) for children aged up to 12 years old – toddlers up to two years old go free - and AED 40 (US$ 11) for adults. More details are available from www.summerinabudhabi.ae