Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, has reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to FIFA’s development agenda for international football, as well its efforts to empower communities through football.
This came following a visit of a Fifa delegation to DSC on Monday. The delegation was led by Fatma Samoura, the Secretary General of Fifa, and included former France international Youri Djorkaeff, who is now CEO of the Fifa Foundation.
Hareb received the delegation in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of DSC, and the two sides discussed different projects and initiatives seeking the development of international football, and the empowerment of communities through football.
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The visit comes under the framework of the strong relationship between the Council and world football’s governing body, especially with Fifa President Gianni Infantino, who is a regular guest at the annual Dubai International Sports Conference.
Welcoming the delegation, Hareb spoke about the special relationship between the Council and Fifa. He also talked about the work and different initiatives of the Council, as well as the annual sports calendar, which includes more than 400 events.
“First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council for the warm welcome he has given to the FIFA delegation, which is headed by me but also includes Mr Youri Djorkaeff, winner of the 1998 World Cup,” said Samoura, who is FIFA’s first-ever female Secretary General, joining world football’s governing body in 2016 following 21 years with the United Nations, where she managed to initiate and lead several development and humanitarian programmes across the globe.
She met Infantino during a 2018 World Cup qualifying game in 2015 and he went on to offer her the job of Fifa Secretary General after he was elected President of Fifa.
Born to a Senegalese Muslim family, and the only girl among seven siblings, Samoura is the first non-European to hold FIFA’s second-most powerful position, and she was ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ list of the ‘Most Powerful Women in International Sports’ in 2018.
“We are here to pay a courtesy call to Dubai Sports Council,” she added. “This visit was an opportunity to remember all the good memories of the 2009 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup that took place in Dubai. It was also an opportunity to see how we can work together to improve and promote football within and outside the region.
“I am also here as a guest of honour for Expo 2020 Dubai, which also has an important aspect that reflect on the power of football in uniting people, and bringing people from all the continent together.”
Djorkaeff, who was a member of the France national team that won the 1998 Fifa World Cup, Euro 2000, and the 2001 Fifa Confederations Cup, and scored 28 goals in 82 appearances for Les Blues, has been working as CEO of the Fifa Foundation since 2019.
A regular visitor to Dubai, he said: “What is really interesting about Dubai is that you know you will come across, at the restaurant or at an event, someone who is a legend or a player from Europe, from the different clubs I played with. This is really good.
“Dubai has become a place to be for sport, with all the facilities they have here. If you want to have a five-against-five, seven-a-side or a padel game, you can easily find people to play with you. That’s really great because sports can be a link between people of different age and religion, and different social levels. It can be unifying factor for the population and that is our focus at FIFA and the Foundation.
“At FIFA and the FIFA Foundation, we are using sport to be connected and to be united. I will stay here for two more days here to understand the needs of the population and the community, and to see if it is possible to do something with the Foundation.”