Fuleco, the official mascot of the Fifa World Cup 2014 is touring Dubai giving football fans in the Middle East an opportunity to see an icon of hosts Brazil for the first time.
"We are honoured to have the mascot which symbolises the World Cup in Brazil. This is proof that Dubai is not focusing on a sport event by itself. From time to time we are looking at new concepts and integrating with the community itself," said Ghazi Al Madani, Sports Tourism Manager of Dubai Sports Council at a press conference on Monday.
Fuleco will be paraded in sports clubs and schools.
"A Portuguese name, Fuleco stems from football and ecology, is armadillo famous animal in Brazil. Nice part of it is, if he feels threatened, he will roll up and when he rolls up it is a football," said Fifa's Group Leader of Consumer Retail Eric Vlieg.
Fuleco in Dubai
The top Fifa official also announced that Dubai-based Glory Horizons has been appointed the official distributor in the GCC to manufacture and distribute the official merchandise and memorabilia for the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil.
"The products will be available in the Middle East in February. The merchandise programme starts in retail segment. You can buy favourite team t-shirt or jersey beginning April," said Ghanim Al Ghanim, Managing Director of Glory Horizons.
"It's important to work with companies and licensees in order to make sure we give a piece of the action for the consumers. No matter where you are in the world, we will make sure there are products available for each type of consumers who are interested in football or interested in sport as a whole," said Vlieg who assured that they have brand protection scheme in place to track counterfeit products.
"We have different quality products. It will suit different segments. Prices will be more or less same in the GCC but we hope to reach every level of buyers," said Al Ghanim.
The contract will see Glory Horizons supply over 600 different products and Fifa fan-base merchandise and souvenirs to the retail market in the GCC as well Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Yemen and Syria.
"It is important for Fifa to find right partner for different regions in order to make a difference. We found very nice partnership with Glory Horizons," said Vlieg.
"It's absolutely very important leading upto 2014, 2018 and 2022 that we already started legacy in region in order to make people get familiar with Fuleco. To give them a piece of action is through a piece of merchandise. No matter where you are, we will give the opportunity to consumers or as a fan of Fifa World Cup," he added.