The hosting rights for the 2026 XIII FIP World Championship were officially granted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023. This significant decision was disclosed during a general assembly meeting of the Federation of International Polo (FIP), which convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In a highly competitive selection process, the UAE Polo Federation emerged victorious, triumphing over formidable rivals, including the Nigerian Polo Federation and the Saudi Arabian Polo Federation.
Piero Dillier, the President of the Federation of International Polo, inaugurated the meeting by addressing the agenda. Subsequently, he declared the UAE as the chosen host country for the prestigious 2026 XIII FIP World Championship.
The announcement received unanimous approval from the attendees, culminating in a joyous celebration. The proceedings featured a captivating documentary highlighting the rich tradition of polo in the Emirates. Heartfelt congratulations were extended to the country’s delegation, led by Saeed Bin Drai , Vice President of the UAE Polo Federation.
Mohammed Al Habtoor, the Chairman of the UAE Polo Federation, extended his sincere congratulations to UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the winning bid to host the World Polo Championship 2026 in the country.
Habtoor stated: “The UAE has always been the pioneer in organizing the biggest championships successfully, whether related to equestrian sports, golf, football, Jujitsu, or other sports.
“UAE won the bid was the result of the collective work of the board of directors since the moment they took charge and until the delegation reached to Argentina.
“The support of the General Sport Authority, the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Councils, and the cooperation of all clubs truly contributed to this success and achievement.”
Habtoor also thanked Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi , Minister of Education of the UAE and Head of the General Sport Authority, for meeting with the UAE Polo Federation board of directors and congratulating them for winning the hosting bid, as well as offering his generous guidance to the board of directors on the plans and programs of the federation.
The date for hosting World Polo Championship was revealed during a press conference hosted by the UAE Polo Federation at in Al Habtoor Group headquarters.
Habtoor explained the preparation of the UAE national polo team for an upcoming championship, emphasizing an ambitious plan involving external training in Argentina, England, and Spain to elevate the players’ skills and rankings over the next three years.
Drai, expressed immense joy at the unanimous election of the UAE hosting dossier during a meeting in Buenos Aires with representatives from 45 countries. He extended gratitude to the UAE Embassy in Buenos Aires and the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai for their support during the delegation’s mission.
Highlighting the significance of the championship, Drai noted that it would be the first time held outside Europe and America, marking a historic occasion for the Middle East. He mentioned the last championship in Florida, where the Spain National Team emerged victorious. As the title holders, Spain will join the UAE and six other teams.
Drai added that the Federation of International Polo (FIP) founded in 1985 with 86 member countries, will select the top two teams from each of its four areas through qualifying tournaments over the next two years. A coordination meeting is scheduled for January to form a monitoring committee and allocate tasks.
Hareb commended the UAE Polo Federation for successfully submitting the bid in a short period. He hailed the announcement of hosting the global event, emphasizing the UAE’s status not just for event success but for providing security, safety, and contributing to the economy through tourism, especially due to its robust infrastructure.