Bahrain fans flying out for UEFA grow three-fold
Manama, February 9, 2014
The number of football fans from Bahrain flying out to attend next week's UEFA Champions League matches in have tripled since last year.
Four-hundred people have already bought tickets for the round of 16 knockout stages, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
They will be waving Bahraini flags at some of the world's most famous stadiums including Estadio Santiago Bernabeu - home of Spanish team Real Madrid, Camp Nou of FC Barcelona, Allianz Arena of reigning champions Bayern Munich and Ethihad Stadium of Manchester City.
Organiser Unico Tours has also received, for the first time, 30 requests to attend Europa League games for Juventus, who were eliminated from the Champions League in December, said the report.
"We have paid confirmations from 400 fans for the round of 16 matches," said Unico Tours founder Maitham Hammad.
"More than half of that number will visit Camp Nou or Ethihad Stadium for the Manchester City vs Barcelona home and away matches," he said.
"More than 80 fans will be going to the Bayern Munich vs Arsenal matches at Emirates Stadium. The rest are divided amongst other matches.
"But for the first time ever we have 30 diehard fans buying tickets to watch Juventus matches in the Europa League."
Another 50 are also expected to pack their bags as their Schengen visas are being sorted out with the embassies concerned.
"Last season at this time, we had around 100 fans attending the round of 16 and this season we have triple that number, which shows that there is interest," said Hammad.
He added that Bahraini fans will be able to stay at the same hotel of Barcelona players and accompany them on trains or buses on game day.
The company has also teamed up with the Dreams Society to fly out a group of terminally ill children to meet their idol Lionel Messi - Argentina national team and Barcelona forward.
"The Dreams Society has approached us to fulfil the wishes of children with cancer and we are supporting them to meet Messi, but the date has yet to be decided," said Hammad.
"We are also supporting a tournament for teenagers and the winning team will be flown out to watch a Juventus match."
The first leg of the round of 16 will be held on February 18, 19, 25 and 26, while the second leg will be held on March 11, 12, 18 and 19.-TradeArabia News Service