17th December, 2012: Dubai – Japanese Association of Football Clubs announced today that Emirates Airline and Emirates Holidays will become the main sponsor of the 5th Gulf Cup – the largest football tournament for the Japanese communities in the Middle East, which will be held at The Sevens stadium in Dubai on 15th of February, 2013. The 5th Gulf Cup which will bring together the Japanese football teams from UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Iran. The reception party will also be held on the same day.
“While Emirates is best known in the footballing world as an Official Worldwide Partner for the FIFA World Cup™, our involvement with the game is on many different levels,” said Badr Abbas, Emirates’ Vice President, Commercial Operations, UAE. “This sponsorship is a further demonstration of our support for the Japanese community in the UAE. We wish all teams the best of luck in the 5th Gulf Cup, which comes during an important year for Emirates and Japan. In July, we upgraded Narita to an A380 service, meaning Japan is now served by our much talked about flagship aircraft,” Mr Abbas added.
2013’s Gulf Cup presented by Emirates Airline marks the fifth year for the Japanese football community, and the first year of the tournament has been lengthened from a few teams to almost 10 teams. The 5th Gulf Cup will cover 6 countries in the region and will be the largest participants in the history of the event. Previous winner was Japanese team in Egypt although the Japanese team in Dubai “Dubai Blue” traditionally becomes champion every year.
“It is an honor to be sponsored by such prestigious airline Emirates and I believe this event will further grow the Japanese community with Emirates. On behalf of the all Japanese football teams in the Middle East, I’d like to thank the Emirates Airline and Emirates Holidays for their faithful support and commitment to our Japanese community.” said Yu Kikkawa, Director of the Japanese Football Club in Dubai.
As of October 2011, about 270 Japanese companies operate in the UAE.
Altogether, over 3,000 Japanese nationals are resident in the UAE and over 2,000 Japanese nationals live in Dubai, making the city home to the largest Japanese community in the whole of the Middle East and Africa. Dubai has one Japanese association and there is also a Japanese School in Dubai, which is based on Japanese curriculum.