Football, is it the new focus of Dubai economy?

Since 2008 Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Al Ahli Club encouraged football investments in the Emirate.
Many agreements proved Shaikh Hamdan’s interest in finding new sources of income and his confidence in the football industry.
The “Hero Global Football Fund” was launched in 2008 by the Emirates National Bank of Dubai to invest in footballers.
The Hero Global Football Fund is the first unitized, financially regulated,Fund of its kind in the world and the first to be approved by the English Football League. The Fund is seeking to raise c£100m. This is a unique opportunity for international investors especially from the GCC to invest in the game and business of football. Football has huge global appeal and is expected to continue generating large revenues, not least through television broadcasting rights which despite global economic conditions are still being sold at record levels. The decline in the availability of credit globally will
make it harder for all but the very wealthiest clubs to continue to attract top talent and to retain their most promising young talent. This is where Hero Global Football Fund’s opportunity is most evident – by providing finance in exchange for a participation in the financial wealth generated by key aspects of professional football.

Emirates National Bank of Dubai, the largest banking group in the Middle East in terms of assets, with the Hero Global Football Fund became the latest Middle Eastern institution to target the global football sector which is worth more than USD 20 billion, and add it to its investment portfolio. In addition, as part of its commitment to invest in the development of football in the UAE, the Fund has reached an agreement with the Al Ahli Club to identify promising players for further training and development through the Fund and its associates.

On a number of occasions, Dubai International Capital tried to buy into Liverpool F.C., in part because DIC chief Sameer al-Ansari is an LFC fan and season ticket holder:

* 3 December 2006: Dubai International Capital and Liverpool revealed that Dubai International Capital were in exclusive negotiations to potentially buy or invest in the football club. Liverpool later accepted an offer made by American tycoons, George Gillett and Tom Hicks
* 22 December 2007: Dubai International Capital looked to invest in the club alongside Gillett/Hicks, as the clubs owners suffered financial difficulties. However, Hicks later dismissed holding any talks with DIC and even DIC making a bid for his share.
* 14 February 2008: reported that DIC have ‘the outline of an agreement to purchase the Reds from George Gillett and Tom Hicks, and a deal could go through by mid-March’ for a sum of around £500M. Gillett then annaounced that he was willing to sell his 50% stake alone to Dubai International Capital.
* 10 March 2008: Hicks announced via the Liverpool website that he has terminated further discussions with DIC. Hicks was apparently not willing to allow Dubai International Capital to be involved in football decisions.
* 15 September, 2008: Premier League rivals Newcastle United linked with Dubai International Capital. However, Dubai International Capital have stated they are not planning a fresh bid for Liverpool, nor were they in talks with any other side from England’s top flight.

Here you also some websites related to Football in Dubai:

1 Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club Tel: 03-722-2777

Club located in Al Ain City; main activities are football; has three football training pitches, an indoor multipurpose gymnasium, a swimming pool, and facilities for table tennis, handball, basketball, volleyball and tennis



Web site on football in both Arabic and English; carries scores from football tournaments around the world and has other info on the game


3 Ahdaaf Sports Club Tel: 04-347-7666

Air-conditioned indoor sporting facility in Al Qouz spread over 20,000 sq ft; has FIFA standard synthetic grass football fields; complex has a football gear store & café


4 Al Ahli Club

Web site of Al Ahli soccer club in Dubai; site is in Arabic


5 Al Wasl Sports Club

Football club in UAE; site is in Arabic


6 Alwahda Sports and Cultural Club

Web site of the Al Wahda sports club and football team based in Abu Dhabi


7 Barclays International Football Academy Tel: 04-337-1698

Football academy in Dubai that trains children from as young as four right up to 16


8 Dubai Celts Gaelic Games Club

Irish association focusing on football, hurling, ladies football, and other Irish games

Football Ethnic Associations

9 Ittihad Kalba Club

Football club in Sharjah; also has facilities for other sports

Football Clubs

10 Safa Football Club

Non-profit, amateur, expat football club based in Dubai; has teams playing in the First Division of the Dubai Amateur League and the Dubai Country Club League


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