FIFA chief Gianni Infantino will be making his fifth consecutive appearance at Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC), a part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, to be held at the Madinat Jumeirah on January 2-3. The conference has been bringing football’s top stakeholders together since 2006 for extensive discussions on challenges facing the ever-evolving world of football. Image Credit: DCS

Dubai: Fifa President Gianni Infantino will lead a star-studded list of speakers at the 13th Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC) as the game’s top decision-makers and stars assemble at the Madinat Jumeirah on January 2-3, 2019.

This is the fifth consecutive appearance of Infantino at one of Dubai’s biggest sporting events that is held under the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

The theme of the 13th edition of DISC is ‘Football and the Economy’, and the names of the speakers for this year was revealed by Saeed Hareb, General Secretary of DSC. The list of attendees also includes ‘O Fenomeno’ (The Phenomenon) Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, a member of Brazil’s World Cup winning teams of 1994 and 2002. Winner of three FIFA World Player of the Year titles — in 1996, 1997 and 2002 — Ronaldo also won the Golden Ball at the 1998 World Cup where Brazil lost to hosts France in the final. He is also the second-highest goalscorer for his national team behind Pele.

Ronaldo will share the dais with the winning captain of the 1998 World Cup final Didier Deschamps and Blaise Matuidi, winner of the 2018 World Cup with the French team, in a session titled “The World Cup Experience and Value of Success”, which will be the final discussion of the day. Infantino, meanwhile, will take centre stage in the noon session titled, ‘More than a Game’.

Deschamps has the honour of being one of only three men, alongside Brazilian Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, to win the World Cup both as player and manager. Having won the title at home in 1998, he was the manager earlier this year when Les Bleus clinched the World Cup in Russia. He also holds the distinction of being one of only three players in the history of football to have won the World Cup, the European Championship and the Champions League as captain, alongside Beckenbauer and Iker Casillas.

“We welcome the Fifa President and some of the star footballers including Ronaldo, Deschamps and 2018 World Cup winner Matuidi. These people are directly associated with football at the highest level and their inputs will surely help change the way this sport is played,” Hareb said at the official announcement on Tuesday.

“The Dubai International Sports Conference is one of the most important initiatives of Dubai Sports Council and one of the most anticipated events on the international football calendar, bringing together world football’s biggest names while providing a platform for people working in the football industry from around the globe,” he added.

The 13th edition of DISC will commence with a session titled, ‘Developing New Digital Strategies for the Football Sector’, which will see Peter Moore, CEO of English club Liverpool, Umberto Gandini, former CEO of Italian Club AS Roma and Peter Hutton, Head of Live Sports at Facebook, discuss strategies.

Zvonimir Boban, Fifa Deputy General Secretary; Ferran Soriano, CEO of English club Manchester City, New York City FC and Melbourne City FC; and Miguel Angel Gil, CEO of Spanish club Atletico Madrid, will discuss ‘New Formats and Revenue Perspectives’ in the second session.