Dubai: As football in the UAE plans its return following months of closure due to coronavirus, Dubai Sports Council (DSC) will be using experts from LaLiga to share their experience of the situation with football club and company officials in the UAE.
Organised in collaboration with LaLiga, the ‘Football Clubs Strategy for Recovery Post COVID-19’ webinar will take place on Wednesday [July 1], from 12 noon to 1.30 pm, on video conferencing app Zoom.
The webinar will feature Ali Omar, Director of the Sports Development Department of Dubai Sports Council, and Maite Ventura, LaLiga’s Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, as keynote speakers alongside three officials from Spanish clubs: Franco Segarra, the Head of Data Analytics, Ticketing and Fan Experience at La Liga club Valencia CF; Federico Gonzalez, advisor at Spanish Second Division club Real Oviedo; and Francesc Arnau, the former Barcelona and Malaga goalkeeper who is now Technical Director at Real Oviedo.
The list of panellist also includes top officials from the four Dubai football clubs – Dr Khalid Al Zahed, Executive Director of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai; Saeed Ali Al Amri, Executive Director of Al Nasr; Mohammad Ali Ammar, Chief Executive of Al Wasl and Ali Al Bedwawi, Executive Director of Hatta Club. Daniel Barriga, the LaLiga Delegate for UAE, and media specialist Sami Al Emam will be the moderators.
It has been especially tough for the world of football as leagues across the globe were forced to a halt. The biggest clubs in the world have suffered because of the lockdown, both on the technical and financial side. They have lost sponsors and have been forced to lay off staff or furlough them
“The last few months have been really challenging for everyone, across the world,” Ali Omar, said.
“It has been especially tough for the world of football as leagues across the globe were forced to a halt. The biggest clubs in the world have suffered because of the lockdown, both on the technical and financial side. They have lost sponsors and have been forced to lay off staff or furlough them. This reduction of staff will obviously have a bearing on the technical side,” he added.
Now, as leagues resume cautiously, all of them have had to play behind closed doors without fans or a very limited number of fans, which obviously hurts the clubs financially in terms of gate-money. More importantly, playing in front of empty stands might not be such an exciting prospect for the players, even though they are professionals. “For many of these players, the lockdown has been a mental challenge as well and physically, they have not been able to train as much as they would normally do,” Ali Omar noted.
“There have been a whole lot of challenges that the world of football has faced over the past few months, and we have brought in our partners from one of the biggest football leagues in the world, the Spanish La Liga, to share their experience of this testing phase, to speak about the challenges they have faced and the solutions that have worked for them. Spain, if we remember, was one of the worst-hit countries when COVID-19 peaked in Europe,” he added.
LaLiga has been a close partner of the DSC while coordinating on several fronts to promote football in Dubai and the UAE. “We want to enrich our local football industry with their insights. We have deliberately invited an official from a top division club and two officials from a Division Two club so that we can have insights from two different perspectives, representing two very different grades of football,” Ali Omar said.
“We have also chosen our Spanish guests carefully so as to get the maximum benefits. One of them is from the ticketing department, another is a financial advisor and the third is a former top division football player and now a technical director. Together, they will provide us with insights from three different segments of the football industry,” he added.
To watch the discussions, you can register through the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/93769187056?pwd=S0ZtVm9NK2kvZE1NNE9yVCtQTEdoUT09#success