MENA

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Dubai’s reputation as an ever-changing metropolis that refuses to stand still contrasts with a carefully-crafted sports events strategy that has demonstrated remarkable consistency stretching back years.

CR7 wins best player at Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai Special career award for Brazil legend Ronaldo

Abu Dhabi will take centre stage as two of the world’s top football competitions, the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017-2018 and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, come to town. Alexis Dijksterhuis of Abu Dhabi-based ticketing and events company FLASH Entertainment is relishing the prospect.

Sport in Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of enormous change. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the heir to the kingdom’s throne and one of the two most powerful men in the country along with his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz – has targeted sport as one of the vehicles of his ambitious plan to transform the country.

Abu Dhabi serves as an irresistible draw to an increasing number of sports clubs, federations and organisations every year.

Global media group beIN Media has partnered up with sports industry start-up incubator Qatar SportsTech (QST) to aid the development of new technology which could enhance its broadcasts

Kuwait has returned as a fully-recognised member of the Olympic Movement after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) lifted a four-year suspension of its National Olympic Committee (NOC)

Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia have officially bid to host the Fifa U20 World Cup in 2021. In total, three of the five bids for the U20 World Cup are from Asia

Pay-television broadcaster BeIN Sports has laid off almost 300 employees in Qatar, or about 18 per cent of its local staff

Features

Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a host of stellar events across a wide variety of sports has attracted a broad range of international federations and sports governing bodies in recent years.

The combination of climate and accessibility means that the Emirate provides a convenient and attractive option for professional sports teams and individual athletes.

HE Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council explains how the Emirate’s continuing investment in a world class sports infrastructure serves the local population and the international community.

BeIN Media Group, the Qatari broadcaster, has hit out angrily at media reports suggesting beIN Sports channels are being blacked out in the Middle East and North Africa as a consequence of the Saudi Arabia-led economic blockade of Qatar. Frank Dunne and Robin Jellis report. 

Dubai plays host to more than 400 events each year and has a track record of delivering some of the world’s most prestigious sports events. But the innovative emirate is constantly looking to the future and evolving its offering as a host to meet the changing demands of the world sports community.

Dubai has a solid heritage as a short-break training destination for football clubs, but continued investment in facilities and infrastructure is enhancing its reputation as a training base in other sports.

ARTICLE PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH FALCON AND ASSOCIATES.

Big, bold, brash and backed up with lots of cash. That is by no means a hyperbolic description of the UAE construction industry. This is, after all, home to man-made archipelagoes in the shape of palm trees or a map of the world. This is where the world’s tallest building, the 830-metre Burj Khalifa, is located. Architects here are not known for their subtlety.

Given the stiffling summer heat in the Gulf region, most sports events take place between October and April. However, there have been attempts to stage indoor air-conditioned events, particularly the annual Dubai Sports World, which from June until August offers football, basketball, volleyball and tennis facilities to amateurs.

Deloitte estimates that the sponsorship spend for sports events in Dubai alone is about $100m per year, with 70 per cent of that figure attributed to the seven biggest events.

When it comes to sports broadcasting, you might say the UAE has lucked out with its time zone. “Around 2.2 billion people across Asia, Europe and Africa live in the four time zones either side of Dubai, making it ideally situated to capture a global television audience,” Deloitte’s Economic Impact of Sport in Dubai report states.

Just over a decade on from the famous tennis publicity stunt atop a skyscraper in Dubai, Dominic Bliss looks at how the UAE sports industry has evolved and where it is heading.

Owen Evans asks the Paralympic Movement how it is planning on using lessons learned in Sochi to break down cultural barriers in the Middle East at the inaugural IPC World Championships in Doha.

Owen Evans spoke to leading lawyers to get a behind-the-scenes look at the sports law sector, find out what major issues have come across the desks of major firms in recent months, and identify what areas of the sports industry are changing so fast that the legal sector is struggling to keep abreast.

Dubai is fast becoming a leading destination for professional cycling events. Kevin Roberts looks at why, and its aspirations for the Dubai Tour event.

 An exhibition which explores the shared development story of Dubai and its horseracing heritage, driven by the pioneering spirit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has opened to the public at Meydan Racecourse.