His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, has welcomed participants ahead of the Dubai International Sports Conference on Sunday.
This year's conference, under the theme 'Football at the Top', takes place at Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa.
The event, organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) has been bringing football’s top stakeholders together every year since 2006 for extensive discussions on ways to develop and enrich the sport at the domestic, regional and international level.
Despite the challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DSC, under the guidance of Sheikh Mansoor, has managed to bring top stars and decision-makers from the world of football in person for the Conference.
Speaking ahead of the Conference, Sheikh Mansoor stressed that Dubai Sports Council was determined to maintain the continuity of the event and organise the annual Conference in the presence of football’s top decision makers as well as stars from both within and outside the country.
The line up of guests include FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the likes of Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Bayern Munich ace Robert Lewandowski and former Spain captain and goalkeeping great Iker Casillas, as well as other guests, and representatives of clubs who have been nominated for Dubai Globe Soccer Awards, which have been held annually since 2010 alongside the Conference.
Sheikh Mansoor said: "Thanks to the vision, wisdom and guidance of our wise leadership, the UAE has been able to assure the world that life continues as normal in our country, safe and secure, and that our borders are open to everyone.
"Presently, we are hosting hundreds of thousands of guests who have come to the UAE from different parts of the world to enjoy an unforgettable holiday. They are confident about their health and safety here, and looking forward to returning home with unforgettable memories of this place, and of the many iconic landmarks we have in the country, one of which is the Burj Khalifa, where we are hosting the Dubai International Sports Conference and Dubai Globe Soccer Awards this year.
"Our decision to organise the Conference and Awards this year, in accordance with all the precautionary measures in place and with some of football’s biggest stars and decision-makers present in person, is further evidence of the smooth transition of life to normalcy in every sphere here, and a confirmation that the UAE was and will remain a meeting place for the world, whatever the circumstances, thanks to the vision and guidance of our wise leadership, and the kindness and hospitality of our people, a community that lives and embodies noble values like tolerance and inclusivity, as well as the quality infrastructure and world-leading development in every segment, particularly in the service sector, and tourism and sports."
His Highness continued: "We are following the path of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who insists we do not wait for the future, but make it, and the organisation of this Dubai International Sports Conference contributes towards the creation of a better future for football in the UAE, this region and the wider world.
"The Conference has become a premier annual forum for discussions on football and a brainstorming platform for its development, where new initiatives are launched for the betterment of the game and its future.
"We cherish this role and will continue to play it and achieve more gains for the sport and for the happiness of the football family, including the fans."
His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, has welcomed the participants to Dubai International Sports Conference, which is a Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative pic.twitter.com/5HnD6srcCL— Dubai Sports Council (@DubaiSC) December 26, 2020
"This is the first event of its kind, given the pandemic situation around the world. The world has seen different international events being organised virtually, but, pursuant to the directives of His Highness the Chairman of the Council, we are organising the Conference and Awards in the heart of Dubai and in the presence of international stars, thanks to the approach and wisdom of our wise leadership and its support, and the great confidence people from around the globe have in this country and the precautionary measures and protocols in place here. These measures have proven successful and have won the admiration of the world," said Mattar Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.
The Conference will begin at 6:15 pm on Sunday with a speech by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, which will focus on the role football plays in promoting peace across the globe, as well as values like tolerance, inclusivity and equality, and in bringing diverse people together.
After Infantino’s keynote, the three stars – Ronaldo, Casillas and Lewandowski – will take the stage to talk about their respective journeys to the top in their glittering careers. This will be the first time they will assemble on the same stage. Lewandowski and Casillas will be making their first appearance at the Conference, while Ronaldo has been a regular participant.