Al Wahda explore various options to generate revenue



ABU DHABI // Leading UAE football clubs have until now been heavily reliant on government funding. That financial assistance is due to be phased out in 2013 so Pro League officials are already investigating ways of increasing revenue. Unlike their counterparts in the big European leagues, the clubs here do not generate much income through the turnstiles so maximising marketing and sponsorship is a priority.

Stanislaus Dsousa is finance director at Al Wahda, last season's league champions, and he spoke of ambitious projects currently underway to capitalise on the club's city centre location in the capital. Construction is well advanced on a second Al Wahda Mall to go alongside the existing successful shopping centre, while an adjacent hotel and two apartment blocks are also planned to be in use soon on the club's property.

"We are also looking at several other ways to bring in funds," said Dsousa. "We don't have official merchandising at the moment," he said. "That's one of the areas we are looking at. You will see people here wearing replica shirts but they are not real ones. There is a market for imitation kits. Perhaps the game of football here needs a culture change. Spectator loyalty to their respective clubs needs to develop.

"We are also thinking about a food and beverage outlet at the ground, but you have to ascertain first of all whether it is worth it and whether the fans will use it. "We have not got round to thinking about a match day programme yet but maybe that is something that will be welcomed in future seasons." Dsousa is as concerned as any Pro League club official about the poor crowds at matches. "We are doing everything we can to attract them here," he said. "Maybe it is a lack of awareness in the community, particularly the expats, but maybe it's just the mentality here. The local fans prefer to watch the games on TV rather than sweat it out in the stadia."

wjohnson@thenational.ae

TOP 5 DRIVERS 2019

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 10 wins 387 points

2 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 4 wins, 314 points

3 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 3 wins, 260 points

4 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2 wins, 249 points

5 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 win, 230 points

FFP EXPLAINED

What is Financial Fair Play?
Introduced in 2011 by Uefa, European football’s governing body, it demands that clubs live within their means. Chiefly, spend within their income and not make substantial losses.

What the rules dictate? 
The second phase of its implementation limits losses to €30 million (Dh136m) over three seasons. Extra expenditure is permitted for investment in sustainable areas (youth academies, stadium development, etc). Money provided by owners is not viewed as income. Revenue from “related parties” to those owners is assessed by Uefa's “financial control body” to be sure it is a fair value, or in line with market prices.

What are the penalties? 
There are a number of punishments, including fines, a loss of prize money or having to reduce squad size for European competition – as happened to PSG in 2014. There is even the threat of a competition ban, which could in theory lead to PSG’s suspension from the Uefa Champions League.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: CarbonSifr
Started: 2022
Based: Dubai
Founders: Onur Elgun, Mustafa Bosca and Muhammed Yildirim
Sector: Climate tech
Investment stage: $1 million raised in seed funding

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder petrol (V Class); electric motor with 60kW or 90kW powerpack (EQV)
Power: 233hp (V Class, best option); 204hp (EQV, best option)
Torque: 350Nm (V Class, best option); TBA (EQV)
On sale: Mid-2024
Price: TBA

Start-up hopes to end Japan's love affair with cash

Across most of Asia, people pay for taxi rides, restaurant meals and merchandise with smartphone-readable barcodes — except in Japan, where cash still rules. Now, as the country’s biggest web companies race to dominate the payments market, one Tokyo-based startup says it has a fighting chance to win with its QR app.

Origami had a head start when it introduced a QR-code payment service in late 2015 and has since signed up fast-food chain KFC, Tokyo’s largest cab company Nihon Kotsu and convenience store operator Lawson. The company raised $66 million in September to expand nationwide and plans to more than double its staff of about 100 employees, says founder Yoshiki Yasui.

Origami is betting that stores, which until now relied on direct mail and email newsletters, will pay for the ability to reach customers on their smartphones. For example, a hair salon using Origami’s payment app would be able to send a message to past customers with a coupon for their next haircut.

Quick Response codes, the dotted squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, were invented in the 1990s by a unit of Toyota Motor to track automotive parts. But when the Japanese pioneered digital payments almost two decades ago with contactless cards for train fares, they chose the so-called near-field communications technology. The high cost of rolling out NFC payments, convenient ATMs and a culture where lost wallets are often returned have all been cited as reasons why cash remains king in the archipelago. In China, however, QR codes dominate.

Cashless payments, which includes credit cards, accounted for just 20 per cent of total consumer spending in Japan during 2016, compared with 60 per cent in China and 89 per cent in South Korea, according to a report by the Bank of Japan.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The biog:

From: Wimbledon, London, UK

Education: Medical doctor

Hobbies: Travelling, meeting new people and cultures 

Favourite animals: All of them 

Pox that threatens the Middle East's native species

Camelpox

Caused by a virus related to the one that causes human smallpox, camelpox typically causes fever, swelling of lymph nodes and skin lesions in camels aged over three, but the animal usually recovers after a month or so. Younger animals may develop a more acute form that causes internal lesions and diarrhoea, and is often fatal, especially when secondary infections result. It is found across the Middle East as well as in parts of Asia, Africa, Russia and India.

Falconpox

Falconpox can cause a variety of types of lesions, which can affect, for example, the eyelids, feet and the areas above and below the beak. It is a problem among captive falcons and is one of many types of avian pox or avipox diseases that together affect dozens of bird species across the world. Among the other forms are pigeonpox, turkeypox, starlingpox and canarypox. Avipox viruses are spread by mosquitoes and direct bird-to-bird contact.

Houbarapox

Houbarapox is, like falconpox, one of the many forms of avipox diseases. It exists in various forms, with a type that causes skin lesions being least likely to result in death. Other forms cause more severe lesions, including internal lesions, and are more likely to kill the bird, often because secondary infections develop. This summer the CVRL reported an outbreak of pox in houbaras after rains in spring led to an increase in mosquito numbers.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

Top goalscorers in Europe

34 goals - Robert Lewandowski (68 points)

34 - Ciro Immobile (68)

31 - Cristiano Ronaldo (62)

28 - Timo Werner (56)

25 - Lionel Messi (50)

*29 - Erling Haaland (50)

23 - Romelu Lukaku (46)

23 - Jamie Vardy (46)

*NOTE: Haaland's goals for Salzburg count for 1.5 points per goal. Goals for Dortmund count for two points per goal.

The Cairo Statement

1: Commit to countering all types of terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations

2: Denounce violence and the rhetoric of hatred

3: Adhere to the full compliance with the Riyadh accord of 2014 and the subsequent meeting and executive procedures approved in 2014 by the GCC

4: Comply with all recommendations of the Summit between the US and Muslim countries held in May 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

5: Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of countries and of supporting rogue entities.

6: Carry out the responsibility of all the countries with the international community to counter all manifestations of extremism and terrorism that threaten international peace and security


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