Expatriates will soon be eligible to join local clubs and represent the country in all sports in what is being called a “ground-breaking occasion in the history of UAE sports” following a decree from the President, Sheikh Khalifa.
As of September, men married to Emirati women as well as children born in the UAE and any player who resides in the Emirates will be eligible to register for sports clubs and, potentially, represent the country.
The Presidential decree was declared in November and the Federal National Council approved the regulations and conditions drafted by the UAE General Sports Authority on Monday.
“It was approved on Monday and we are announcing it today,” said Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithy, president of the General Sports Authority, at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council auditorium on Tuesday.
“Indeed it’s a ground-breaking occasion in the history of the UAE sports and we are extremely delighted of the milestone.
“The expatriate community that has helped us to build the nation is now provided the opportunity to play a role in sports.
“This is a long-awaited need for the expatriate community. Their participation in local sports will create a bigger pool of players for the national federations aside from the competition they will provide for the Emirati players.”
All UAE sports federations including football, basketball, volleyball and rugby clubs will begin implementing the Cabinet-approved regulations in September and local clubs can start the registration process.
“We are excited and honoured to issue this statement for the participation of players in this category as it will encourage more athletes to participate in different sports,” added Al Rumaithy.
“Of course this is a pathway that’s new and we’ll have some teething problems at the beginning. We’ll know where we stand at the end of the first season and if amendments are required, we are prepared to do that.”