Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson, centre, holds off Jonathan Dwyer and Cortez Allen of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their NFL game played at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Jamie McDonald / Getty Images
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson, centre, holds off Jonathan Dwyer and Cortez Allen of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their NFL game played at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Jamie McDonald /Show more

Breath of fresh air enjoyed when the NFL makes yearly visit to UK



Watching American football normally brings out my cynical side.

Like most people who grew up believing that a sport called “football” should mainly involve ones feet, I generally find gridiron games to be overly long, complicated and the passage of play maddeningly fractured.

Out of professional and patriotic duty, however, I chose to watch the NFL’s regular-season game between Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers in London. And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It probably helped that it was a fantastic sporting contest, featuring a Hollywood-style touchdown from Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson and some ridiculously long throwing by Steelers quarterback “Big” Ben Roethlisberger.

But it was more than that. There was also the context in which the game was played.

Namely, while the English football establishment was stamping its feet and gnashing its teeth at the notion of a one-off month-long winter break to facilitate the 2022 World Cup, here was the NFL, happily sharing its game with the wider world, as it has done every season since 2007. We Brits, who like to think ourselves so worldly and cosmopolitan compared to our American cousins, are more conservative than any Appalachian hillbilly when it comes to tinkering with our national game.

Of course, I realise that support for the London games was not universal among the NFL family.

Nonetheless, the idea became a reality and it is delivered each year with gusto and conviction. From the articulate and media-friendly players to the idea of encouraging all NFL fans to attend in their own colours, regardless of which “franchise” (yuck) they support, it felt like a breath of fresh air – even to a hardened cynic like me.

Yes, they use their hands. But at least they also use their heads.

sports@thenational.ae

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

The specs: 2018 GMC Terrain

Price, base / as tested: Dh94,600 / Dh159,700

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Power: 252hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 353Nm @ 2,500rpm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.4L  / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Alaan
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founders: Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $7 million raised in total — $2.5 million in a seed round and $4.5 million in a pre-series A round

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

The bio

His favourite book - 1984 by George Orwell

His favourite quote - 'If you think education is expensive, try ignorance' by Derek Bok, Former President of Harvard

Favourite place to travel to - Peloponnese, Southern Greece

Favourite movie - The Last Emperor

Favourite personality from history - Alexander the Great

Role Model - My father, Yiannis Davos

 

 

Health Valley

Founded in 2002 and set up as a foundation in 2006, Health Valley has been an innovation in healthcare for more than 10 years in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
It serves as a place where companies, businesses, universities, healthcare providers and government agencies can collaborate, offering a platform where they can connect and work together on healthcare innovation.
Its partners work on technological innovation, new forms of diagnostics and other methods to make a difference in healthcare.
Its agency consists of eight people, four innovation managers and office managers, two communication advisers and one director. It gives innovation support to businesses and other parties in its network like a broker, connecting people with the right organisation to help them further

The squad traveling to Brazil:

Faisal Al Ketbi, Ibrahim Al Hosani, Khalfan Humaid Balhol, Khalifa Saeed Al Suwaidi, Mubarak Basharhil, Obaid Salem Al Nuaimi, Saeed Juma Al Mazrouei, Saoud Abdulla Al Hammadi, Taleb Al Kirbi, Yahia Mansour Al Hammadi, Zayed Al Kaabi, Zayed Saif Al Mansoori, Saaid Haj Hamdou, Hamad Saeed Al Nuaimi. Coaches Roberto Lima and Alex Paz.

UAE squad to face Ireland

Ahmed Raza (captain), Chirag Suri (vice-captain), Rohan Mustafa, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Boota, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmad, Zawar Farid, CP Rizwaan, Aryan Lakra, Karthik Meiyappan, Alishan Sharafu, Basil Hameed, Kashif Daud, Adithya Shetty, Vriitya Aravind

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

TO CATCH A KILLER

Director: Damian Szifron

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson

Rating: 2/5

The Lowdown

Us

Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseqph, Evan Alex and Elisabeth Moss

Rating: 4/5

Pathaan

Director: Siddharth Anand 

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham 

Rating: 3/5

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

Company Profile

Founders: Tamara Hachem and Yazid Erman
Based: Dubai
Launched: September 2019
Sector: health technology
Stage: seed
Investors: Oman Technology Fund, angel investor and grants from Sharjah's Sheraa and Ma'an Abu Dhabi

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

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