Uefa to develop Champions League concept stores in Middle East

Uefa has unveiled plans to develop a range of Champions League concept stores across the Middle East in the latest effort by European football’s governing body to boost the global reach of its continental club competition.

Under a licence agreement with retail and hospitality-focused company Marka, a number of ‘Uefa Champions League Experience’ facilities will be developed throughout the Middle East. The first of these stores is due to open in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in May, with plans in place for expansion across the wider region.

The Abu Dhabi store, which will be constructed in Yas Mall on Yas Island, will feature a combined retail and restaurant offering. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise from some of Europe’s leading clubs and view signed memorabilia from various teams.

The facility will also feature a fast-casual dining experience where customers can enjoy signature dishes served in stadium-inspired settings designed to replicate the atmosphere of the Champions League. Visitors will be able to view coverage of live matches and archive footage on giant screens whilst dining.

Guy-Laurent Epstein, marketing director of the governing body’s Uefa Events arm, said the project will help the competition gain additional exposure in key Middle East markets.

“We are very pleased to announce this exciting new concept, where for the first time in the Middle East, fans will be able to gather and enjoy the best of what the Uefa Champions League represents,” Epstein said. “We are glad to offer our fans this exciting, innovative concept and look forward to launching the first of many stores in association with Marka.”

Khaled Almheiri, vice-chairman of Marka, added: “The Uefa Champions League is the most popular club competition in the world and enjoys a cult following across the Middle East. The Uefa Champions League Experience will be the ideal destination for all football fans to come and enjoy the best of European football and their favourite teams under one roof.”