Football attracts a fervent following in Dubai – as throughout the Gulf – with local TV stations serving up an endless stream of both local and European games, including plenty of Premier League action. The UAE runs its own professional football league, with twelve participating teams, including five from Dubai, which compete in various tournaments including the Etisalat Pro-League and Etisalat Cup. The two biggest Dubai clubs are Al Wasl (walwaslsc.ae), who play at Zabeel Club (and were briefly managed by Diego Maradona in 2012), and Al Ahli, who play at Rashid Stadium, and who are perhaps best known in the West for their unsuccessful attempts to headhunt the then Spurs manager Harry Redknapp in 2011. The UAE has also enjoyed considerable success at international level, winning the 2007 and 2013 Gulf Cups (the local equivalent of the European Championships) – although they’ve qualified for the World Cup just once, in 1990, losing all three games.

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