Twenty-four qualifying nations are set to battle for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Trophy next month here in the UAE, and the final countdown starts today.

The most prized international silverware at U-17 level is set to tour all six host cities within the coming month, starting with Marina Mall Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Wednesday 18 September) until Saturday from 10am to 10pm. The Trophy Tour is open to all fans and families looking for the chance to win fabulous prizes, to see the prized trophy up close, and to buy their tickets to see their favourite teams compete.

HE Mohammed Abdulla bin Bdoua, Tournament Director, said: “The idea behind the Trophy Tour is to give everyone in the UAE the chance to have a snapshot of one of the greatest developmental tournaments of all time – the FIFA U-17 World Cup. We are delighted to give fans this once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the Winner’s Trophy and a chance to win money-can’t-buy prizes such as signed merchandise from UAE’s young football stars.

"This tournament provides us with a fantastic platform to share our passion for football through activities such as the Trophy Tour, where fans and families all around the country can share in this festival of football,” he added.

Three out of the 24 qualifying nations at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup have got their hands on the Trophy more than once in the past: Africa’s football powerhouse, Nigeria, in 1985, 1993 and 2007; defending champions, Mexico, in 2005 and 2011; and the world’s football favourites, Brazil, in 1997, 1999 and 2003.

The UAE is gearing up to host their fifth FIFA tournament since 2003, and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) are finalising preparations just before the tournament kicks off on 17 October in the capital. “The excitement is certainly reaching an all-time high as we anticipate the start of the largest football celebration in the region next month,” says the LOC’s Tournament Director.

The final 24 qualified nations will begin the tournament in six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group automatically qualifying for the round of 16. The four best third-placed teams from the group stages will also progress to the knock-out stages.

You can buy your tickets today by visiting the Trophy Tour in your city, by logging on to www.fifa.com/u17worldcup or calling 800 STADIA (800 782342) for the chance to secure seats to watch your favourite team in action. Single match day tickets are available in two categories: CAT 1 for AED 10 and CAT 2 for AED 50.

Tickets are also available to purchase at Hallmark stores located in each host city – The Dubai Mall (Dubai), Marina Mall (Abu Dhabi), Al Jimi Mall (Al Ain), Manar Mall (Ras Al Khaimah), City Centre Mall (Fujairah) and Sahara Mall (Sharjah).

Trophy Tour Schedule

Host City

Location

Dates

Abu Dhabi

Marina Mall

18 – 21 September

Zayed University & Football school (TBC)

22 September

Al Ain

UAE University

26 September

Al Jimi Mall

27 – 28 September

Ras Al Khaimah

Manar Mall

30 September – 1 October

Fujairah

City Centre Mall

4 – 5 October

Sharjah

Al Majaz Waterfront

6 – 7 October

Dubai

Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

10 – 12 October

Dubai University (TBC) & IFA Football School

13 October

Dubai Mall

14 – 15 October

Abu Dhabi

Fan Zone (Abu Dhabi Corniche)

17 October – 8 November