Dubai: The Al Habtoor Group will be the official sponsors for the UAE Basketball Association (UAE BA) and all its activities for the next two seasons. The agreement will seek to address an imbalance in the following and growth of basketball among the population of the UAE.
The announcement was made by Esmail Al Gergawi, President, UAE BA; Mohammad Al Habtoor, Group CEO, Al Habtoor and Khalid Al Midfa, Assistant Secretary General, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare (GAYSW). "At the Al Habtoor Group, we realized this need to support a popular sport like basketball so that it can spread out and encourage children to come forward and play," Al Habtoor told Gulf News later.
"This is going to be a shared initiative between the Al Habtoor Group and the UAE BA and hopefully this sort of support will see the desired results of ensuring our team and our players get a truly international exposure," he added.
As per the agreement, all activities of the national squad and its referees will be supported by the initiative. In addition, all basketball related affairs at the clubs will be backed under the programme. "The idea is to ensure a stability and growth for the game of basketball. We have talented players who need the support and we also need to get in new talent so that the sport develops and grows for the future," noted Al Gergawi.
The Al Habtoor Group has been a major supporter of sports in the UAE with its annual Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge for women one of the most sought out end-of-season event among professional players from the Women's Tour. The group is also active while sponsoring major polo tournaments while stepping in as the official sponsor for the Al Ain and Al Nasr football teams.
"There will be a special championship for women at the Bani Yas Club and this will be the first time that the Al Habtoor Group logo will appear," Al Gergawi said.