Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club announces appointment new CEO

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Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club's new CEO, Nick Garcia

Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club (JSCC) has a new CEO.

Nick Garcia has been appointed as Group Chief Executive Officer, overseeing all club activities.

Nick has over 20 years of global and local experience in sport. He spent five years working in Abu Dhabi from 2008-2012, building one of the region’s leading sports marketing agencies, CSM Middle East. In 2012, Nick relocated home to the UK, where he took a leadership position at  Manchester City FC, helping to devise and execute the group commercial strategy through it’s transformation to City Football Group.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Vice Chairman of the AJSC Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee said: “On behalf of the Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club Board I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, Honorary Chairman and Chairman of the JSCC Honorary Board as well as His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Vice Chairman of the JSCC Honorary Board and Chairman of the JSCC Board of Directors for their continued guidance and support for the Club. I would also like to thank the members of the JSCC Board of Directors and the executive management team for their hard work in developing the club over recent months. I welcome Nick to the Club and wish him the best of luck in his new mandate.”

He added: “Our ability to achieve the strategic goals for the Al Jazira Club will depend largely on supporting our teams in their aspirations to achieve additional successes and championships. We will continue to instill the spirit of operational excellence, positivity, diligence, perseverance and teamwork to ensure that the Al Jazira Club continues to be the pride of Abu Dhabi.”

On his part Nick explained: “I am delighted to take up the position of Group Chief Executive Officer of JSCC in my second home, Abu Dhabi. The great ambitions of the JSCC board for the future of the club and its commitment to realizing these aspirations have been instrumental in my decision to join team Al Jazira, which has the potential to become a best in class organisation both on and off the field of play. ”

Nick highlighted that the next phase of the club will focus on improving operational efficiencies, ensuring a sustainable financial position, smart investments, increasing the Club’s revenues across its businesses as well as enhancing the spirit of competitiveness and strengthening the club’s overall brand. He emphasised that achieving these goals will require hard work, patience, proper planning, perseverance and the diligence of all team members.

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Spain defeat shows England still need work, says Gareth Southgate

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Gareth Southgate is unsure whether England have time to become genuine Euro 2020 challengers but pledged to “keep faith” with his principles after Spain delivered an uncomfortable reality check.

The Three Lions injected hope, excitement and enthusiasm into the nation over the summer, with recent tournament failings made up for in a splendid run to the World Cup semi-finals.

Those weeks in Russia will live long in the memory, but even during the tournament Southgate regularly warned about the work still needed – and Saturday was a stark illustration of that.

Spain may have bowed out in the World Cup last 16 but showed the benefits of a long-established identity and kind of creativity sorely lacking in England’s midfield.

The 2-1 Wembley defeat was an inauspicious start to the Nations League and underlined the distance that needs making up to the world’s best.

Asked if England can close the gap before the next European Championships, Southgate said: “Very difficult to say. I think we’ve got some players who can and have shown tonight they can perform at that level, and there’s some that are still a work in progress.

Marcus Rashford scored one but could have had a match-winning hat-trick.

Marcus Rashford scored one but could have had a match-winning hat-trick.

“We have got 19 matches, it’s not very long, but, in my opinion, we have got the best group of players in the country here.

“We have got some others who might come back from injury and maybe coming through from the junior ranks.

“But I think we have got to keep faith in the way we’re trying to play, otherwise we go back to what we did historically and there’s no way I believe we’ll ever be a top team if we do that.

“So, we are going to be brave enough to stick to our principles, and just get better at what we’re doing and identify how we improve.

“But that is not going to be an easy task because you can see the level of the top teams.

“I said right across the summer, we’re under no illusions about that but also we’re prepared for that challenge.”

Saul Niguez and Rodrigo did the damage on Saturday evening, when Marcus Rashford had opened the scoring.

Substitute Danny Welbeck saw a stoppage-time leveller wrongly ruled out, meaning England head into Tuesday’s friendly against Switzerland reeling from three successive defeats in all competitions for the first time since 1988.

Southgate plans to rotate his side at the King Power Stadium in Leicester and intends to bring in reinforcements from the Under-21s squad.

The earlier withdrawal from the squad of Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling leaves the attacking areas short, while a question mark remains over Rashford.

Luke Shaw left the field on a stretcher against Spain after a heavy fall but said he was “doing fine”.

“We need to asses over the weekend, but I think it’s likely we’ll need to call some players in,” Southgate said.

“We’ll probably look to do that from the Under-21s, but we just need to see positionally where we stand on Sunday morning.

“Marcus was just feeling something. So, again, he’s one we’ll assess, and we’ll have a better idea in the morning.”

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Gatecrashing World Cup party for France will show the Netherlands shouldn't lose all hope

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The Netherlands could do without invitation to this party.

Sunday’s gala Nations League clash will illustrate the divergent paths walked by France and their crestfallen visitors since World Cup 2014.

Resurgent Louis van Gaal then led the Dutch to a shock third-placed finish. A 5-1 mauling of holders Spain that kick-started this startling run gave the future a hue of Brilliant Oranje.

Didier Deschamps’ French squad, in contrast, made little impression in Brazil and were not missed when eliminated by eventual victors Germany in the quarter-finals.

The 21-year-old duo of Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane and then Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba seemed far away from the finished article. Head coach Didier Deschamps’ conservative methods caused worries that successes to match those from his playing days would not follow.

Only the most-optimistic members of the Les Bleus faithful and gloomy sections of the Netherlands support could have predicted what happened next.

The summer of 2014 represented the modern zenith for one nation and an invaluable formative experience for the other.

Ticker tape and cheers will greet the home players when they take to the pitch at a grateful Stade de France – the same arena so deflated by final defeat at Euro 2016. This will be a 90-minute celebration of a joyous nation’s triumph at World Cup 2018.

For the Netherlands, one of the sport’s premier nations has not kicked a ball at a tournament since July 2014’s 3-0 mauling of deflated hosts Brazil in the third-place play-off. Ex-Feyenoord and Everton boss Ronald Koeman is the fourth man entrusted since then to resuscitate a national side on life support.

This is a storyline detailed by production lines: one that has continued to churn out elite talent at a precocious rate and another that requires a revitalising result to evidence theirs has not ground to an alarming halt.

France sent out the second-youngest squad this summer in Russia. An estimated collective valuation of €1.2 billion (Dh5bn) was the highest at the event.

FBL-WC-2018-FRA-ARRIVAL

Pogba had become the then most-expensive player in history when returned to Manchester United for £89 million (Dh424m) in August 2016.  Monaco guaranteed a £166m (Dh856.3m) payment from Paris Saint-Germain last February for teenage striker Kylian Mbappe.

Forward Antoine Griezmann had appeared cheap at €100m (Dh425.1m) when Barcelona attempted to pay his release clause from Atletico Madrid.

Only three members of the 23-man squad – Mbappe, Juventus battler Blaise Matuidi and PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola – were graduates of the national academy at Clairefontaine. But this body’s philosophy is felt at nearly every French club.

Coaches trained there go back to teams from Lyon to Monaco, Bordeaux to Guingamp, and help transform promising youngsters into elite footballers better than nearly all other countries.

Only two changes were made by Deschamps for the 23-man roster selected to meet the Dutch – both caused by injuries to Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and reserve Steve Mandanda of Marseille.

A sweep of the Under-21s shows the system’s efficacy cannot be questioned by Deschamps’ continuity. Lyon midfielders Houssem Aouar and Tanguy Ndombele, plus RB Leipzig’s teenage defender Dayot Upamecano, look poised to come in when needed.

The Dutch matched this reputation for much of the 50 years that followed Johan Cruyff startlingly bringing Rinus Michels’ reworked theory of ‘Total Voetbal’ to life at Ajax.

It’s continued prominence appeared apparent when the nation were beaten in World Cup 2010’s final and made the semis four years later.

Vaunted attackers Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben were the fulcrums of this generation.

A once-bountiful talent pool critically went dry as they aged.

Churning Netherlands managers has not yet cured systemic issues.

Previous great hopes like Royston Drenthe and Ibrahim Afellay fell by the wayside. Besiktas forward Ryan Babel’s presence in Koeman’s selection causes alarm.

Forward Memphis Depay is rebuilding his career at Lyon after flopping at Manchester United. Goalkeeper Jasper Cillesen warms the bench at Barcelona and crippling knee injuries see midfielder Kevin Strootman at Marseille rather than a true giant.

From this nadir, however, shoots of recovery can be found.

The Ajax trio of 19-year-old centre-back Matthijs de Ligt and 21-year-old midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek are coveted across Europe.

Georginio Wijnaldum has started 2018/19 in superb form for Liverpool – a club which paid a world-record £75m (Dh369.8m) fee for peerless centre-back Virgil van Dijk.

These players possess the ability to inspire a gatecrashing of France’s festivities. If they do, glory could lie ahead.

The Netherlands last failed to make successive tournaments in 1986. They, of course, then did rather well at Euro 1988…

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