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‘Dubai capable of hosting the best’

Officials laud infrastructure’s capacity to host major sporting events

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
Professional rugby player Rory Lawson and Trevor Steven,a former professional footballer who is now a footballcommentator, speak at the Sports Event Summit in Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: Top officials have given Dubai a thumbs-up for being way ahead of a lot of competitor cities in staging bids to host some of the world’s biggest sporting events.

“Dubai has it all. It is the most complete package for hosting some of the biggest events in the world of sport,” Giselle Pettyfer, Vice-Chairman of Falcon and Associates, told delegates on the opening day of the Middle East Sports Event Summit.

“Dubai is such a hospitality and tourism hub. Everyone has to come here. And now with the metro and a huge growth in the number of hotel rooms, Dubai is making itself noticed. Dubai is today such a passionate brand that it is being noticed worldwide,” said Ghazi Al Madani, Sport Tourism Manager at DSC.

The two-day summit has attracted over 120 decision-makers in sports from across the world debating on various topics to attract mega sporting events to a city.

Dr Ahmad Sa’ad Al Sharif, Dubai Sports Council (DSC) General Secretary, opened the summit and called on delegates to maintain the UAE’s position as a major sporting hub.

“The UAE has reached a highly-ranked position on the international map in the field of organising and management of international sports events, thanks to the continuous support and contribution made by the government, public and private sectors, as well as the steps each sector has taken to make sport a way of life,” Dr Al Sharif said.

“Furthermore, Dubai has received international recognition on numerous occasions thanks to the distinguished and outstanding efforts by all; for organisation of international sports events, in areas of quality management, event standards and social effects,” he added.

The Dubai Government conducted a long-term strategic study in 2009 to decide between hosting the Olympic Games in 2020 or the Expo 2020.

“The Expo was decided upon even though the feasibility study concluded that there were adequate prospects such as number of rooms, infrastructure and transportation to stage the Olympics. There was pretty much everything in Dubai to stage an event such as the Olympics when many cities have really struggled for adequate accommodation,” Pettyfer noted.

However, Pettyfer said there were still some aspects that the emirate could take on board to become even more attractive and successful on the sporting stage.

“In Dubai, you have the people who can make the place come alive with its diversity. And any event that is a people’s game can be assured of success,” she noted.

“The focus needs to be on building up grassroots sport and getting the community to understand the different sports. And most importantly, we need to have the culture of volunteering to assist in the organisation of mega sports events,” Pettyfer added.