IFA Sport and Expat Football Association (EFA) have come together with the aim of building a bigger football community in Dubai that will see more tournaments, leagues and social events for both men and women.
Both organisations are hugely popular in the emirate with the running of their own competitions and with them now in partnership, their events for both men and women will now be run side-by-side on adjacent pitches.
You can be part of their first tournament on Friday, March 16 with registration closing on Tuesday. Their six-a-side event will take place between 14:00 to 17:00 at Jebel Ali School, followed by a social awards evening that will recognise the achievements of the footballers who impress.
“We are very excited to combine two already very successful concepts – the EFA’s men’s group and the IFA women’s players,” said Jessica Prelle, head of girl’s and women’s football at IFA Sport.
“So far these events have always been completely separate which is a shame as I believe there are many partners, wives, husbands that would love to join in on the pitch but are not even aware that there is something for both genders available. I actually think the men will be surprised seeing the level at which some of the ladies play.”
Kevin Fairhurst, managing director, EFA, added: “Both our organisations prioritise a community feel, great experience and strive to offer a great needed service. We both share the same vision and have a passion for what we offer. It makes sense to unite and share this with the whole expat community.”
With entry costing Dh599 per team, Fairhurst and Prelle believes there are many positives by signing up.
“We have more than 200 regular players across the women’s tournaments and leagues in Dubai. But still it feels like recognition of the female game has a long way to go here,” said Prelle.
“The men’s game of course is already widely respected so aligning and showing it’s not only perfectly normal for women to play football here, but also that they are not of a bad standard seems ideal. Competing side by side will encourage interaction and in the end respect for each other that will continue far beyond the pitch.”
Fairhurst added: “The audience we both set out to attract were not necessarily serious footballers but more expats who simply want to play football, meet new people and get plugged into the local expat community. This is more a social event where football is just one part of the day. Get yourself down if you want a great day, meet new people, take part in an exclusive football competition and be a part of the new phase of a changing community of expat football in Dubai.”
What: IFA and EFA’s six-a-side football tournament
Where: Jebel Ali School, Dubai
When: Friday, March 16
The Zurich Corporate Touch 6s returns to Dubai this month for its seventh annual tournament, which promises to be the biggest year ever.
In 2012 eight teams entered the first-ever competition, bringing together businesses across the UAE for a day of fun-filled sport. Last year’s tournament saw a staggering 32 teams sign up for the event and growth shows no signs of slowing down as teams have been clamouring to be a part of this year’s Touch 6s.
The appeal? Anyone can play. Touch rugby is a very easy game to learn, involving minimal contact, making it fun for all ages and abilities, regardless of gender.
Players touched with two hands from the opposition place the ball down or play the ball at the spot of the “tackle,” and the defensive team must retreat.
The tournament sees businesses from across the region go head-to-head in some healthy corporate competition, and does a good job of helping to shake off office inactivity. The event is strictly for employee-based teams, making it an idea team-building opportunity, plus free training sessions are on offer in the lead up to the tournament for those looking to hone their skills before the big day.
Thanks to its increasing popularity the event has also become a relaxed and entertaining family day out set within the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. This year is no different with plenty of entertainment, live music and activities on offer throughout the day.
Teams can register a maximum of 14 players, with six players on the pitch at any one time. A minimum of three females is required on the pitch at all times for the mixed grade. Players can only represent one team and at least 12 of the squad must be working in full time employment for the company.
Teams are however permitted to register two players from outside the organisations. The team gold package costs Dh12,000 and includes post-tournament dinner tickets and corporate branding and exposure at the event.
Speaking after last year’s tournament, 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson said: “It’s a great event for the community and the families, we’ve been getting more and more coming, it’s become more of a festival vibe which is great. It’s great for the kids, the UAE and rugby too.”
Walter Jopp, Chief Executive Officer at Zurich Middle East added: “We’re very proud to be the sponsors of such an event, it’s been phenomenal how it’s grown. It’s very much about getting people active, corporate team building and having a great day.”
What: Zurich Corporate Touch 6s.
Where: Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club
When: March 16th
Dubai Holding is bringing the region’s largest and most holistic yoga festival to UAE again with XYoga Dubai, that will be taking place from March 16-17 at Kite Beach and will run from sunrise until sunset.
The festival will bring more than 35 international and local yogis together who will be giving out over 60 complimentary classes, featuring 25 different styles of this unique meditative practice that can be enjoyed by anyone between the ages of 1 to 100.
Opening with a mass morning beach yoga session for 1,500 yogis on Friday, 16 March at 08:00, XYoga Dubai’s organiser XDubai has confirmed that it is expecting more than 10,000 people.
For yoga enthusiasts who also happen to be chocoholics, the festival has something interesting in store for them.
Chocolate yoga instructor, Sjha’ra Taylor practices traditional Kundalini yoga while having hot chocolate, as part of a cacao ceremony that venerates the cacao spirit and was practiced by the ancient Mayans.
It was noted that combining Cacao with Kundalini yoga helps students gain a direct experience of their energy and also leads to profound mental, physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
“Chocolate Yoga is a yummy fusion of the Cacao Ceremony and Kundalini Yoga. I am really looking forward to sharing the experience with everyone during the XYoga Dubai presented by Dubai Holding. See you on the mat,” says Sjha’ra Taylor.
UK-based yogi and modern wellness advocate Daniel Morgan is ecstatic at the prospect of coming to the UAE and giving people a taste of wellness workshop.
“I am extremely excited to be part of XYoga Dubai presented by Dubai Holding and can’t wait to meet everyone,” said Daniel Morgan.
The global growth of Yoga has been exponential and with Dubai establishing its place in the world as the hub for fitness and health, this festival has come at a very opportune time according to Edris Alrafi, chief executive officer of Dubai Holding.
“We continue our strategy of being part of Dubai’s most successful events; We are committed to enhancing the quality of life of our community and embedding wellness as a principal component of it. This has guided our partnership with XDubai, which entails a series of large-scale fitness events including XYoga Dubai,” said Edris Alrafi.
The XYoga Dubai classes and workshops are open to public and the classes are available for all levels, ages, and abilities.
The classes can be attended free of cost but will be subject to pre-registration and further announcements will be made for the two-day festival.
WHAT: XYOGA Dubai
WHEN: March 16-17, 2018
WHERE: Kite Beach
CONTACT: For more information, please log on to www.xyogadubai.com