Michel Salgado relieved that his Dubai football academy is open again after coronavirus lockdown

Director of Spanish Soccer Schools, which is based in Dubai Sports City, was 'desperate' to get children back on the pitch again

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Michel Salgado speaking at the Manchester United goalkeeper press conference at the Government of Dubai Media Office.  Leslie Pableo for The National

Michel Salgado says he was desperate for his Dubai-based football academy to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown.

The former Real Madrid full-back is the director of Spanish Soccer Schools, which is based in Dubai Sports City.

He said the return to training earlier this month after weeks of no sport was much needed.

“One of the biggest things that we missed during the lockdown –apart from our families if we were away from them – is sport,” Salgado said.

“We cannot live without our sport. Sport activates our body and our mind.

“That’s why I was desperate to get our academies back, get our kids back to our academies to play sports again because the kids were really struggling a lot, stuck at home without sports.

“We are all responsible to get sports back, with health and with security. Why? Because sport is a big part of our life for so many reasons.

“First of all, it is education for our kids. Secondly, sport is competition and entertainment, and that is a big part of our life as well.

"So we need to make sure our fans are back in the stands, safe and healthy.”

Salgado was speaking at a forum at Al Nasr club to discuss the safe return of spectators to live sport in the UAE.

Leading sports officials, as well as representatives from Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Police met to consider protocols for admitting fans to events.

The Sports Council said they have studied the methods of 33 federations around the world on the matter of the precautionary measures that are being implemented.

“We are not saying it will happen in one month or two months, or whatever,” Saeed Hareb, the general secretary of the Sports Council, said.

“The sports sector is opening up gradually, and it is important for us to have this dialogue and take everyone onboard as we move forward.”

Tom Phillips, the head of Middle East at European Tour Golf, was also present at the forum.

The DP World Tour Championship is set to take place on December 10-13, and Phillips said it is possible it could happen with spectators.

“In terms of spectators, our first six events in the UK will be played behind closed doors,” Phillips said.

“However, we are looking into the possibility of spectator attendance for events played later in 2020, but we are not committed to it at this stage.

“It completely depends on risk mitigation, government approval of the country we are in, and adhering to general and overarching global health guidelines.

“Golf is not a stadium sport, but there are considerations unique to our events.

“All tournaments will be subject to the Tour’s comprehensive health strategy, which will continue to evolve, aligned with international government guidance and health guidelines.”

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