The official FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 mascot and tournament ambassador, Shaqran, was unveiled on 13 May by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and FIFA in the UAE.
Shaqran is named after a popular type of falcons in the Emirates, a bird that is synonymous with the country’s heritage and tradition of falconry. HE Mohammed Abdulla bin Bdoua, Tournament Director, said: “I am delighted to introduce our tournament mascot, Shaqran, to all football fans in the UAE, many of whom are familiar with the falcon that the mascot is named after. Falcons are a potent symbol of our nation and represent great strength and determination, two qualities present in all 24 qualifying teams for this tournament. Shaqran therefore emerged as the perfect name for our event ambassador and mascot.”
The mascot provides the tournament with an exciting brand asset that will be used to engage with football fans, especially children, across the Emirates during the build-up to the biggest celebration of football in the country’s history.
“We continually aim to select FIFA U-17 World Cup mascots that fans from the host country can relate to and are familiar with,” said Inaki Alvarez, FIFA Deputy Director of Competitions. "Shaqran was the best pick for this tournament as he not only represents the Emirates’ heritage of falconry but he is also a symbol that many UAE nationals identify with in the same way that they identify with the one of the nation’s oldest sport – football."
The 15th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup takes place across six cities – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah - from 17 October to 8 November and is set to be the largest football event in the nation’s history. A total of 52 matches will be played in the UAE’s top stadiums: Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah Stadium in Fujairah, Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah, Rashid Stadium in Dubai and Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain.