The 12th Dubai International Sports Conference has again brought together an exceptional group of influential and innovative professionals in all areas of world football, to share their expertise and experience during two days of workshops and presentations.
The Conference kicked off on Wednesday at Madinat Jumeirah and over 300 delegates discussed and debated key topics which impact the future of football, both regionally and globally.
The theme of the Conference is ‘Modern Investment in International Football’, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino heads the list of the distinguished group of chairmen, directors, referees, agents, players and coaches who will discuss and debate key topics which impact the future of football both regionally and globally.
In the first session on Wednesday, Javier Tebas Medrano, President of La Liga, Eric Wynalda, candidate for the presidency of the US Soccer Federation and Marco Brunelli , CEO of Serie A, discussed discuss Best Practice in Professional Football Leagues.
Addressing the globalization of the game and the changes in match schedules, Medrano said: “A Real Madrid fan in China is just as important as a Real Madrid fan in Madrid. We need to increase exposure worldwide.”
In the second session Diego Simeone – Coach of Atletico Madrid, was joined by Hector Cuper, Coach of the Egypt national team, and Fabio Capello, Coach of Jiangsu Suning FC to discuss Investing in the Youth Sector.
Cuper, who has guided Egypt to the World Cup after 28 years, said: “The Egyptian players are very humble. It comes down to education and the system, I like it a lot, they have more respect.”
The first day concluded with Ferran Soriano, the highly innovative CEO of Manchester City; Vadim Vasilyev – AS Monaco Vice President; and Umberto Gandini – AS Roma CEO, addressing the Economic Impact of Football.
Gandini discussed the approval of plans for the development of a new stadium for AS Roma, said: ‘This marks an exciting period for the club, we are performing well on all fronts, and this is a positive chapter for the club.”
Soriano, speaking about the evolution of the game, the growing digital presence and the recent partnership with Amazon, said: “We need to innovate, it’s trial and error. It’s worth taking the risk. It’s going to be spectacular”.
The program for day two (Thursday) will see Marcello Lippi – Coach of China, join Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina, and top international referee Felix Brych to discuss Football Development and the Impact of Technology.
Legendary players Francesco Totti and Carles Puyol, along with one of the UAE’s best players Ismail Matar, will then discuss Investment Strategies for Players – During and Post Career. In the final session of the Conference, FIFA President Gianni Infantino will address the Future of Investment in Football.
The Conference is held under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, and is organised by Dubai Sports Council under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council.
The Conference was established to bring together the leaders in all areas of football to share their knowledge and ideas.
And in a fitting conclusion to the Conference, the prestigious and highly anticipated Dubai Globe Soccer Awards will be staged on December 28, recognising the best performances of the season from players, coaches and administrators.
The Awards will this year will be presented in 13 categories. The nominees are selected by the Globe Soccer Jury of international footballing coaches, directors and chairmen, and again includes the cream of world soccer vying for the honour of being named the best in the world in their field.
A special Dubai Globe Soccer Award was presented on Wednesday, ahead of the ceremony on Thursday night. Diego Simeone received the Master Coach Special Award, in recognition of his remarkable results in guiding Atletico Madrid to winning La Liga and reaching two Champions League finals.
In Brazil, football is a way of life and ingrained in the very DNA of its natives.
It’s no wonder then that despite the emergence of Spain and Germany as football superpowers in the last 15 years, Brazil are still regarded as the most successful team in international football.
The Selecao have graced many a World Cup with their distinct brand of football, an expressive, attacking style wherein even their defenders boast more than their fair share of audacious flair.
The Samba Kings have used their irresistible approach to win a total of five World Cups, one more than any other team has managed as Germany and Italy come closest with four each.
Over the years there have been several iconic figures who have played huge roles in Brazil’s success, perhaps the most notable among them being Pele who took the world by storm in 1958 and helped secure his country’s first ever title before repeating the feat again in 1962 and 1970.
Following a 24-year long wait, Romario was the centre of the team to then win Brazil’s fourth title along with the likes of Cafu, Bebeto, Dunga and a 17-year-old Ronaldo.
Ronaldo was then the star as Brazil were beaten by France in the 1998 final and again when he led them to their fifth and most recent World Cup triumph in 2002.
Much is expected of the current generation and in Neymar, they have a talisman in the mould of Pele, Romario and Ronaldo to propel them to success along with a strong squad of solid, technically proficient and skilfully blessed players.
Could World Cup 2018 be another Samba tale?
Octo Finissimo Automatic A Third World Record for Bulgari
Bulgari is once again the spotlight, proudly presenting its third successive world record.
The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market to date.
After introducing its Tourbillon in 2014 and the Minute Repeater in 2016, the Maison unveils its new creation featuring a total thickness of just 5.15mm, while its self-winding movement is just 2.23mm thick for a 40mm diameter.
The iconic Octo is once again pushing the boundaries of watchmaking feasibility.
Lethal Mabkhout, the Arabian Gulf League’s deadliest marksman who scored a league-leading 33 goals in 25 games last season, notched arguably the biggest goal of his career as the Pride of Abu Dhabi defeated Urawa Red Diamonds last night – setting up a mouthwatering clash in the Club World Cup last four on Wednesday with European champions Madrid.
And the UAE striker said he and his teammates focused all their energy on Urawa rather than daydream about taking on Zinedine Zidane’s side.
“If we had started thinking about Real Madrid before this game, we would have lost,” said the 27-year-old.
“So we had to show respect to the champions of Asia. They are a strong team so we respect them. This is why we won.
“We believe in ourselves and we respect Urawa. But it does not mean we can’t win. We believe and we play very strong and we are also lucky at some points.”
The prolific Mabkhout scored the only goal of the game at Zayed Sports City Stadium seven minutes after the break as Jazira bravely held on for a richly deserved victory.
And Mabkhout added: “I’m so happy to score in a big important win and we get to play against Real Madrid. It’s a big victory for us and we hope we play well against Madrid.”
Few gave Jazira hope of victory against Urawa. Even fewer will give them a chance of beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Co, but Mabkhout believes Jazira carry the hopes of a nation, rather than one club, on their shoulders.
“It’s good for the country. We don’t just play as Jazira now, we play for the UAE,” he said.
“We did not want to think about Madrid but now we can. We know they are one of the best teams in the world and this is an incentive for all the players.”
Mabkhout had a relatively quiet game up until his goal, his touch deserting him when presented with an earlier opportunity. Yet Jazira coach Henk ten Cate claims his natural ability always makes him a threat.
“This guy so good he will always find a moment and find a position to score, and he did so,” said the Dutchman, who celebrated a glorious win on his 63rd birthday.
“The celebrations (on the pitch at the final whistle) were because of my birthday, I am normally not like this. My family is home so we will go and celebrate my birthday now.”
Former Ajax coach and Chelsea and Barcelona assistant Ten Cate expressed pride in his players, who he said had made the whole country proud.
“Everybody should be proud of this team because they have made the country proud,” he added.
“We are a team that is very difficult to beat and we will fight until the last minute. Urawa had more possession than us but we have a good spirit, a fighting spirit, willpower, and I am proud of them.”