Getting to Grips with a Global Audience at Dubai International Sports Conference

Published December 27th, 2017 - 07:23 GMT
The 12th Dubai International Sports Conference
The 12th Dubai International Sports Conference

For anyone who wanted to know about how the top men in football go about engaging their audiences, the Dubai International Sports Conference discussion on the topic ‘Best practices in professional football leagues’ between Javier Tebas Medrano, the president of La Liga, Eric Wynalda, a candidate for the presidency of the US Soccer Federation, and Marco Brunelli, the chief executive of Serie A, was enlightening.

The conference is held under the umbrella of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and is organised by Dubai Sports Council under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council.

The Conference was established to bring together leaders in all areas of football to share their knowledge and ideas.

Medrano emphasised the need to reach out to more fans.

“You need to get more audience and we have to work a lot towards it,” he said. “It’s time to take our transmission to the digital world. The audiences you can get through digital media is now enormous. We are working lot with Facebook. We have to understand the world and reach out through Instagram, twitter and Facebook. A Real Madrid fan in China is just as important as a Real Madrid fan in Madrid. We need to increase exposure worldwide. It is not about just having millions of fans but we need to interact and have engagement with them too.”

Brunelli too stressed on the importance of making visuals out of football action more attractive. “More dynamic camera positions and goalline technology, video assistance to referee are important,” he said.

Wynalda said that football is on the way up in the United States. “Our challenge in the US is to make football make sense, something you can watch, you can love. Our time is coming. The future is bright for America. The competitiveness is what will lift the game. We don’t have promotion or relegation now. We need create more competition and the No 1 thing we need in US is a structure.”

The discussion on investing in youth football involving Diego Simeone, the coach of Atletico Madrid, Hector Cuper, the Egypt national team manager, and former England coach Fabio Capello revealed various aspects one has to look into while moulding a young player.

Cuper said: “Education should not be confined to football alone. We need to balance and allow him to grow. Lionel Messi grew quicker than others because he had bigger talent but need not be the same with other players. Educate him not only to play football but prepare him well as an allrounder.”

The panel also discussed the impact on the game with players getting too much money too early. They felt that it is important to understand who will be around the player and also the advice he receives on the way.

Cuper said that it is also very important to teach players to be humble. “The Egyptian players are very humble. It comes down to education and the system, I like it a lot, they have more respect,” he said.

Simeone, who revealed that he will remain as Atletico Madrid manager until the conclusion of next season, expressed the view that a few youngsters should always get to train with senior players.

“You can play with young or old, that is beauty of football,” he said. “A lot of values he can learn playing with a senior, especially on how he handles the fans, stops to sign and take pictures.”

Meanwhile, Silva International Investments announced today that it has acquired a stake in Globe Soccer, the company which organises and owns the rights to the annual Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai. A special Dubai Globe Soccer Award was presented yesterday ahead of the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards ceremony on Thursday night. Diego Simeone received the Master Coach Special Award from Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, in recognition of his remarkable results in guiding Atletico Madrid to winning La Liga and reaching two Champions League finals.

By K.R. Nayar

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