UAE sports 01
ACTIVE CITY: The government’s support for the sports industry forms an integral part of Dubai's drive to become the world’s best city to live and work in. Image Credit: Gulf News file photos

Dubai: Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, said Dubai has emerged as a major hub for international sports tournaments and a favourite destination for sports stars from around the world.

Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Image Credit: Twitter/Dubai Media Office

He emphasised on the robust infrastructure that has shaped Dubai’s sports sector, adding that the government’s support for the industry is an integral priority within the emirate’s drive to become the world’s best city to live and work in. The contribution of the sports sector to the national and local economy continues to grow, through attracting investments and creating more jobs for young talents.

Sheikh Mansoor said “the contribution of the sports sector to Dubai’s economy has exceeded Dh4 billion annually.”

Growing interest in sports

This is a result of the Dubai community’s notable growing interest to participate in sports activities over the years, and an increase in the number of national and international sporting events being hosted in the emirate.


Number of sports events organised in Dubai annually, of which 130 are international.

Dubai’s advanced sports infrastructure, that includes dedicated tracks for cycling and running, in addition to the rise in number of sports academies and fitness centres, have also played a key role in the growth of Dubai’s sports sector.

The Dubai Sports Council revealed that around 1.5 million people regularly engage in sports and physical activities in Dubai. Meanwhile, the number of people employed by Dubai’s sports sector has been growing significantly over the years, due to an increase in the number of entities operating in the sector as well as Dubai’s hosting of major international championships and events. These events continue to attract thousands of participants, media professionals and visitors from across the world.

Furthermore, Dubai’s favorable legislations, world-class facilities for tourists and visitors and the emirate’s admirable response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have enabled the emirate to firmly place itself as a preferred destination for international sports investors.

Overview of Dubai’s sports sector

Currently, there are more than 20,000 people employed in Dubai’s sports sector. More than 400 sports events, of which 130 are international, are organised in the emirate. The city is also home to more than 400 academies, that offer expert training in all kinds of sports, and more than 100 public and private sports clubs.

There are also five factories that manufacture sports equipment and sportswear in Dubai, and more than 2,500 outlets that sell training equipment and merchandise. The emirate also has over 350 registered companies that organise various sports events and training camps.

Since the beginning of 2021, Dubai has hosted over 70 training camps and friendly matches for international teams in different sports, including swimming, synchronised swimming, modern pentathlon, cycling, tennis, football, badminton, cricket, rugby, golf and more.

Hub for sports personalities

Many participants in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the Olympic men’s badminton champion, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, have chosen Dubai as a place where they can prepare for international championships, making use of the exceptional sports training facilities available here.

Several Asian and European football clubs have also had their camps in Dubai in the past eight months, alongside a number of tennis and paddle players, who have regularly used the Emirate to prepare for events.

Dubai has also emerged as a leading holiday destination for sports stars from around the globe, and – enamoured by Dubai’s impressive infrastructure, top-class amenities and high quality of life, and also the newly-introduced long-term residency Golden Visa - more than 200 of these sports stars – including tennis ace Roger Federer of Switzerland, Formula One’s two-time champion Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, former Italy striker and manager of the 2020 Euro-winning Azzurris, Roberto Mancini, and a number of other former football players like Nicolas Anelka, and Eric Abidal – now call the Emirate their home.