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UAE football finally gets serious

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If there was a world record for breaking the most world records, the United Arab Emirates would hold it.

The past 10 years have witnessed rapid change on a phenomenal scale in the oil-rich nation and one of its growing portfolio of global investments - tourism, property, banking, etc - is now most definitely football.

Kaka's rejection aside, it can only now be a matter of time before Manchester City's owners splash out on the biggest transfer ever.

But, just as Russian football asked questions when Roman Abramovich started ploughing a small chunk of his billions into Chelsea, isn't the UAE game entitled to ask: "what about us?"

And aren't world football fanatics just a little curious about The Beautiful Game in a consistently headline-grabbing nation where expatriates from all over the globe flock to live and work.

The Al Nahyan's cash-fuelled ownership of City actually coincides at a time when UAE football is being taken more seriously than ever.

The league has just turned professional, investment is higher than ever, Brazilian internationals sign for clubs there in big-money transfers, and the odd talented UAE national player or two could be on the verge of moving to a league in the European limelight.

Maybe you live in Abu Dhabi and play football against Emirati youngsters. Do they have the raw talent to one day see a world-class talent emerge?.....

Perhaps you've been to Dubai on holiday and ended up watching David Beckham make his AC Milan debut. What did you think of the facilities? Did you sense a passion or ambivalance towards football out there?.....

Looking at the wider picture, should wealthy foreign Premier League owners have a greater conscience and obligation towards the development of football in their home countries?.....

Check out the article and get involved in some debate here on 606.

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posted Jan 22, 2009

A refreshing change from thew usual diatribes regarding money and the premiership.

Football is a wonderful sport for young people, and I would like to see a focus going back to sport that is actually played by kids rather than one enjoyed slumpoed in fron tof the sofa.

One problem with this idea is that kids arent useful to commercial companies when they are actually doing outdoor pursuits, they would much rather have them watching advertising and branding (and I include football matches in that statement)

Its all very well for countries to develop 'football' in their own countries - but if this simply means creating another business, then I dont consider it tbe of much value to the people themselves in terms of health and happiness

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posted Jan 22, 2009

UAE football has recovered from its rubbish performance in the Gulf Cup by beating Malaysia 5-0 (for qualification for the Gulf Cup). Maybe this could just be the turning point.

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comment by renoog (U13513755)

posted Jan 22, 2009

I often holiday in the UAE and get to watch some of their matches on TV. Their players look nimble and skillful and I believe some of them could be a success over here. However, physically they don't have the stamina or strength to cope with top European football, and there is a tendency for the players to be selfish.

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comment by Reilzo (U13790684)

posted Jan 22, 2009

"Just as Russian football asked questions when Roman Abramovich started ploughing a small chunk of his billions into Chelsea, isn't the UAE game entitled to think: "what about us?"

Absolutely hit the nail on the head. Here in Ireland our domestic league is about to fall apart and you look at guys like mcmanus and magnier who used to own chunk of united and the consortium who took over Sunderland. I don't mind them doing that as a business venture. However, would they not try and get our domestic league, thats in tatters, going too for a miniscule fraction of the price. Thats why for me it's refreshing to see teams like zenit and shakhtar beginning to challenge. People complain that its just rich benefactors like Abramovich. But its not, its people putting money into clubs in their own country. I wouldnt mind if a team 'bought' the champions league if it was an up and coming underdog whose team was funded by someone local.

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posted Jan 22, 2009

In terms of ideas the UAE League has a rather good in. The rule that only local goalkeepers are allowed to play for the top teams. Perhaps English football can learn from this.

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posted Jan 22, 2009

I sometimes wonder why is it that, the Middle East with all its riches isn't where the big football clubs are based. With ownership all important now nationality doesn't mean a thing. So why aren't there new clubs such as Zeus United or Amersia Tornados for instance invented with the big money and the likes of Kaka, Robinho, Rooney, Gerrard, Ronaldo, Fabregas playing there along with managers such as Wenger, Mourinho etc?

In the eighties there was a move by the USA to create such a league and take the world's best players there. I don't see the point of foreign investors ploughing money into English named clubs that now barely resemble their forebears.

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posted Jan 22, 2009

UAE football could well never reach the level of the European leagues. There is an incredible amount of money and as a result the owners of clubs feel compelled to pay for the best players. The problem is the grass roots and until this is invested in and continually invested in for a prolonged period (10 years +) the game will never improve.
The English, Italian and Spanish league had to have a good level of football before enticing better players. When these players were successful, even better players came over, and so on and so forth.
It is a progression and is highlighted by Man City's failure to jump from relegation candidates to employers of Kaka in one 100million move!

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posted Jan 22, 2009

comment by sa1nts (U3692597)
posted 3 Hours Ago
the thinking that in football only money talks and loyalty counts for nothing.
.............
But we passed that point years and years ago.

,,,,,,,,

True in some ways, but not in a case as highlighted as Kaka's proposed move to City.

Even the most hardened City fan would find it difficult to argue that Kaka would even consider a move to City before the arabs came in.

Players have of course moved in the past with money as a major feature, but rarely for such a huge drop in quality.

People will point to Beckham, but unlike Kaka he was nearing the end of his carreer at the top level, Kaka is arguably at his peak.

Seeing Kaka line up next to Vassel and Benjani, would be a crime against football.

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posted Jan 22, 2009

"Looking at the wider picture, should wealthy foreign Premier League owners have a greater conscience and obligation towards the development of football in their home countries?"

The romanticist in me says yes, but in reality they have no obligations whatsoever. At the end of the day, they're making an investment purely because they want to see a return, and in their home leagues there may be very little chance of that. Other leagues, however, are comparative cash cows, so of course that is where they'll put their money - and as businessmen, it's not really a move that can be faulted, as long as things don't go disastrously wrong!

It's a pity, really - it'd be nice to see a time when football was purely by and for fans!

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posted Jan 23, 2009

Football sadly is going the way of the Harlem Globetrotters in USA basketball did in the 60's and 70's. It is inevitable we will get superteams eventually that have all the best players in the world merely playing exhibition football.

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