Dubai: At a time when the Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) is struggling to start the new season due to a lack of cricket grounds, one man has managed to stage nearly ten tournaments last year in Dubai. He is all set to stage another ten in the coming season too.
Tariq Butt, one of the UAE's leading umpires, is a passionate organiser of tournaments. Since 1989 Butt has staged tournaments in different parts of Dubai and is keen to see that cricket continues to thrive in Dubai.
"For the last 18 years I have organised cricket festivals to mark the Indian and Pakistan Independence Day. I made sure that absence of grounds does not put to an end to this tradition," said Butt, who hails from Pakistan.
"Dubai did not have proper grounds in the 1980s but people played the game on any ground which was hard and uneven. I organised my first tournament on the Dubai Electricity ground which is now the Dubai Police stadium. Then I moved to an area behind Rashid Hospital. Finally when the Dubai Cricket Council grounds were made I staged my events there," he said.
Butt today organises his tournaments at the Seven Seas and Dubai Investment Park ground.
"I organise tournaments on behalf of Seven Seas Sports Club. Freddy Sidhwa, the Managing Director and Chairman of Seven Seas Shipchandlers, is an ardent cricket lover and wants cricket to go on in Dubai," he said.
Though DCC is not able to stage matches, Butt still seeks the council's permission and even pays the tournament approval fees.
"Entries to Seven Seas events are limited. There are over a hundred clubs in Dubai but we have managed to satisfy at least a few cricketers," he said.