Top 10 Popular Sports in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E)

A look into the most popular sports in Dubai.

The Government of Dubai & of The UAE sponsors several clubs and associations of various sports to help them bring out latent talent.

Being a country filled with desert, the past sports played in the United Arab Emirates [UAE] are still practiced today, which include camel and horse racing. The UAE has come a long way since those days and with nationalities from all over the world, working and living in the UAE, more and more sports become popular amongst UAE residents.

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1) Football:

Football or soccer is one of the most popular sports played in the UAE. The United Arab Emirates Football Association was first established in 1971 and since then has dedicated its time and effort to promoting the game.

The players of the UAE senior football national team are set together for football magazine. (Source: Dubai Football)

The UAE is currently ranked 110th in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings. Abu Dhabi United Group has recently purchased Manchester City Football Club. All these indicate the interest and love for football in UAE people. There are many football stadiums spread across the UAE. Zayed Sports City is the largest sports complex in the country.

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2) Cricket:

As most of the population in UAE is from India Subcontinent, it makes cricket as one of the most favorite and most popular sports in the United Arab Emirates. The Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah has a record to host most one-day internationals.

Related image
The Dubai cricket team has made a hat-trick of wins in the UAE national qualifiers of the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals. (Source: Twitter)

Dubai has two cricket stadiums (Dubai Cricket Ground No.1 and No.2) and the third is under construction in Dubai Sports City. Dubai is also home to the International Cricket Council. The UAE national cricket team qualified for the 1996 Cricket World Cup and the 2014 ICC World Twenty 20 to be played in Bangladesh.

3) Horse Racing:

Horse racing is another popular in UAE. Probably it is the most popular sport that is played by natives of UAE. It is more popular than camel racing because of the easy viability of necessary equipment.

Jockey Victor Espinoza, center, rides California Chrome to victory in the Dubai World Cup.

Horse racing facilities can be found in The Abu Dhabi Tourist Club, Abu Dhabi Hunting & Equestrian Club, Ajman Equestrian Club, Club Joumana, Jebel Ali Equestrian Club, Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, and the Umm al-Qaiwain Marine Club and Riding Centre are a few of the horse racing clubs located in UAE. Dubai also hosts the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup horse race.

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4) Tennis:

The popularity of Tennis in UAE is increasing day by day. There are a lot of private clubs and hotels hosting their own tennis courts. The annual Dubai Tennis Championships is hosted in Dubai and is a WTA and ATP event in which top tennis players compete every year.

Roger Federer of Switzerland during his second Match at U.A.E

Dubai hosts the annual Dubai Tennis Championships, which is an ATP and WTA event, which attracts the top-seeded players how to compete at the Dubai Aviation Club in February.

5) Motor Sports:

AE is also famous for motorsports. The 1st motorsports race in the United Arab Emirates was the 1981 Dubai Grand Prix held at a purpose-built circuit in Deira Corniche.  It featured a sports car, a touring car, and celebrity races, as well as Formula One demonstrations.

Start of the motor race on circuit at Dubai Autodrome in Motor City United Arab Emirates.

The UAE Desert Challenge, 2009 called Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, is a rally raid race held since 1991. The Dubai Autodrome opened in 2004, and hosted international races in its first years of activity. Abu Dhabi has hosted Formula One races there from the 2009 season onward.

6) Camel Racing:

Camel racing is considered a traditional sport in UAE. It is one of the most popular sports in Arab countries, in UAE it is enjoyed by the inhabitant of the Persian Gulf states for many years.

Al Marmoon Heritage Festival Camel Racing in Dubai

However, robot jockeys are now used after strict government regulations were passed prohibiting underage jockeys from racing.

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7) Golf:

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the United Arab Emirates. UAE has many golf courses and three of them are PGA championship golf courses. The Dubai Desert Classic event takes place in Dubai and is marked by the world’s best golf players. Golf is experiencing an up-flow in popularity in the UAE a large number of families are coming to watch the games.

Tiger Woods struggles to five-over 77 at Dubai Desert Classic to continue unconvincing comeback. (Source: Dubai Golf)

Dubai also hosts the annual Dubai Desert Classic, which is a European Tour event held in March and features some of the world’s best golfers competing for over US$1 Million.

8) Basketball:

Dubai Tribe basketball team. (Source: Twitter) 

UAE is the first Asian country that hosted the 2014 Under-17 Basketball World Championship. Basketball is also played a lot but mainly by the Western population in the UAE.

9) Rugby:

Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby.

Rugby is also a popular sport in the UAE. Rugby fans can play and enjoy rugby matches held throughout the year across the country. Dubai hosts Six Nations Rugby Tournament in April and Dubai Rugby Sevens in November and December.

10) Falconry:

Falconry is one of the most popular traditional sports in the UAE. Many of UAE’s rulers were enthusiasts in falconry as the nation imports falcons from all across the globe.

Urban falconry in Dubai.(Source: Sports Magazine)

Sanctions were prompted by industrial-scale falcon smuggling, financed and directed by the ruling sheiks. Smuggling continues into 2009, to such an extent that Saker falcons, Altai gyrfalcons, and gyrfalcons have become regionally extinct across much of Central Asia. Golden eagles and Houbara bustards are also critically endangered in Central Asian regions where falconry is practiced.

Other Sports
You can find facilities for a lot of sports including shooting and archery, rock climbing, powerboat racing, polo, bowling, and canoeing.

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