Dubai Sports Council to host forum to discuss fans returning

Conference will bring together stakeholders from across Dubai’s sporting sector

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The Dubai Sports Council will host a forum next week to discuss the return of fans to sports events in the emirate.

The conference, held at the council’s headquarters, will bring together stakeholders from across Dubai’s sporting sector, including the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), Dubai Police, local and private clubs, sports federations, and “well-known media personalities". Some participants will attend through videoconference.

The forum will examine precautionary measures and protocols for fans to once again be permitted to attend sport events in Dubai, but only once it is deemed safe for competitions to resume as restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus ease somewhat.

The news follows last week's announcement by the DSC that sports activities in the emirate could recommence under strict new guidelines. Until now, no tournaments and events are allowed. The Arabian Gulf League, the lead professional football league in the UAE, remains suspended, with a decision on whether the 2019/20 season will resume in August yet to be taken.

Speaking about next week’s forum, Saeed Hareb, secretary general of the DSC, said: “We are pleased with the return of sports activity in the emirate of Dubai through the commencement of training in various sports in both local and private clubs, academies, training centres and fitness centres, with the implementation of a series of important measures to maintain the safety of athletes.

“We are very pleased with the great positive feedback we have received from everyone, and we are pleased to announce that we are working with Dubai Police as our strategic partners on a new initiative, which is focused on preparing for the return of fans of different sports and nationalities once competitions resumes, and setting procedures that will allow spectators to enjoy live action from the stadiums, while maintaining their safety as well as the safety of the athletes in accordance with the safety standards and precautionary measures imposed by Dubai’s Supreme Committee for Crisis and Disaster Management, and other government agencies.

“The organisation of the new forum comes at an important time as it is an extension of our efforts to resume sports activity, and precedes the return of official competitions during the coming period. We are not talking about just the local football league, but also the return of sports activity in many other important sectors, including the private sector which has hundreds if academies catering to different sports.”

Hareb highlighted Dubai’s hosting of major international sports events, including golf’s DP World Tour Championship, which was last week confirmed for December 10-13. Taking place three weeks later than originally planned because of revisions to the European Tour’s calendar in light of the pandemic, the circuit’s season finale usually attracts more than 60,000 fans each year to Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“We are working to put in place mechanisms for the gradual return of public to the stadium, in accordance with the instructions coming from the government and related government entities,” Hareb said. “We will be announcing a number of events in the coming days, and we will ensure, in cooperation with all our strategic partners, that the return of competitions is linked to the return of the public as well.”