The UAE’s status as a pre-eminent global sports hub will be emphatically reconfirmed on Saturday when football luminaries such as Cristiano Ronaldo  and Pep Guardiola  descend on Dubai for the 8th Dubai International Sports Conference.
Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Ronaldo and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola are among a stellar line-up of speakers at the two-day conference, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Mina Al-Salam Hotel in Jumeirah.
The conference has been organised under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, and is being held under the title âEmpowering the Future of Football’.
Ronaldo will take part in the opening session of the event between 10am and 11am alongside the former Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, famous for his bald head and wide-eyed stare and now a member of UEFA’s Referees Development Committee.
The favourite for next month’s Ballon d’Or trophy awarded to Fifa’s best player of the year will be discussing with Collina the topic of âdeveloping player’s career towards the top’.
Ronaldo will be joined by three children from the Rashid Paediatric Centre in Dubai, who will each choose a question to ask the 28-year-old.
It is the second time Ronaldo has attended the event after he spoke at the sixth edition in 2011.
Mohammad Al Kamali, member of the Executive Office of Dubai Sports Council and Head of the Conference’s Organising Committee, said: “We are pleased to announce the participation of the Portuguese and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. It is the second time Ronaldo joins the Dubai International Sports Conference.”
Ronaldo first participated in the event in 2011 along with the Italian star, Alessandro Del Piero.
The second session on Saturday, to be held between 11.15am and 12.30pm, will feature football officials and administrators such as former Scotland international and current director of Al Ahli in the UAE, Roy Aitken, and ex-commercial chief of Manchester United, Mike Farnan.
They will be debating the development of football facilities and outlining local models in this regard.
The final session of the day, between noon and 1.45pm, will involve Guardiola, Juventus coach Antonio Conte and former England manager and current head coach of Russia Fabio Capello speaking on the topic of âAnother way to win’.
Sunday’s sessions kick off between 10am and 11.15am with officials such as Senes Erzik, Vice-President of Uefa, talking about how Uefa and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) enjoy a fruitful partnership.
Then, between 11.15am and 12.30pm, former Liverpool striker Ian Rush, now working as an ambassador for the Reds, will be among those speaking about global investment in football and youth development.
The final session of the day, between 1pm and 2.15pm, will involve Ballon d’Or contender Franck Ribery, the Bayern Munich and France winger, and Barcelona’s midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez speaking about leadership skills in winning championships.
The conference will then end with recommendations offered between 2.15pm and 2.30pm, followed by the Globe Soccer Awards on Sunday night at Madinat Jumeriah.
Last year’s edition of the conference, held in association with Globe Soccer, boasted the likes of Chelsea’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, Uefa President Michel Platini, Barcelona President Sandro Rosell, and footballing legend Diego Maradona, who is an ambassador for the DSC.
Previous conferences have debated topics such as âprofessionalism’, âthe challenges of professionalism’ and âcreation of professional sports’.
Fore more information about the conference, which costs Dh1,000 to attend (including lunch and an adidas bag and cap), visit: http://www.dubaiisc.ae/en/ .