The need for a protocol on good governance in sports organisations and lesser reliance on government support were the key recommendations made at the fourth Oman Sports Conference (OSC) that was held at Grand Hyatt on Monday.
Organized by the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the conference was inaugurated by H E Sayyid Badr al Busaidi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of Sheikh Saad al Saadi, the Minister of Sports Affairs.
The conference that attracted leading academics in the world of sports released a list of recommendations at the end of four brainstorming sessions.
The star footballer is based in the UK at the moment, where he plays for Championship side Reading.
Three other prominent Omani sportspersons - Imad al Hosni (football), Ahmad al Harthy (motor sports) and Barakat al Harthy (athletics) - shared with the audience tales of their rise to the top.
Fahad al Raisi, the directorgeneral for sports development and welfare at the sports ministry and the chairman of the OSC's organising committee, said, “Sports needs role models and we have quite a few. We need to benefit from their contribution and encourage programmes to unearth talent across the country. There is a need to support school sports and chalk out a strategy to channelise the youth of the country by organising competitions at agegroup levels.”
Raisi said the conference was a 'yet another successful attempt to highlight the challenges faced by sports in the sultanate' and 'useful discussions' were held.
Among the recommendations discussed were the need for more financial transparency among sports organisations, emphasis on internal and external audit, ways to attract different sources of revenue generation and plans to develop infrastructure.
Khalid al Hachani, advisor to the Minister of Sports Affairs, moderated the first session.
It was followed by presentations from Emmanuel Bayle, professor of sports management with Institute of Sports Sciences at University of Lausanne in Switzerland, on the best practices in sports management, and Atef al Ruwaidan, director of Al Hussein City for Youth in Jordan, on developing sports marketing.
Wladimir Andreff, former professor at University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne in France, highlighted the challenges in sports financing management, while Joaquin Martinez, research scholar from University of Barcelona, talked about investment in sports infrastructure.
The final session had Ivan Bravo, director-general of Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in Doha, Qatar, and David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail, address the gathering. Graham underlined the progress of the Oman Sail schools programme that has seen Omani sailors excel at Asian and regional level.
Samiha al Riyami, a teenage girl sailor, and Fahad al Hasni, member of the Round the Ireland worldrecord making crew onboard Musandam-Oman Sail, spoke about their experiences. Bravo argued that the Aspire model has put Qatar on the world map of sports, and over the past ten years, it has been able to develop world-class athletes.
Tim March, a FutbolNet manager with Barcelona club, who heads the Spanish giant’s social responsibility programme in the Gulf region, gave a talk on his role and experiences.
Jirayr Habibian, sports lawyer and arbitrator with the Court of Arbitration of Sport, and Humaid al Balushi, producer of sports programmes at Doha-based Al Kas sports TV channel, moderated the other sessions.
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