ABU DHABI, 14th July, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has sent an important message to the UAE’s sports sector, the media, and the general public to support Emirati national teams at international events, as well as to support clubs representing the country in regional and international events.
In his key speech at the UAE FA Retreat, which was broadcast live through videoconferencing, Sheikh Abdullah said, “I would like to emphasise that the UAE National team is a key symbol of the country. We, as fans, sporting clubs, media institutions have to support our national team and provide the necessary support for the Football Association. I wish good luck and success for Emirati clubs in the coming sports events as they reflect the development of the clubs and national teams. I would like to emphasise the importance of constant communication and consultations among national sports institutions such as UAE Olympic Committee, General Authority for Sports, councils, associations and clubs. Everyone should work together and join hands for a better football future.”
He thanked Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the UAE Football Association, for giving him the opportunity to speak at the retreat. “I wish the members of the association luck and success, and I hope that they can utilise the outcomes of the retreat to draft an advanced strategy aimed at improving Emirati football. I also appreciate FIFA’s efforts and its continuous support for the UAE Football Association.”
“The world is witnessing a crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has required all countries to review their priorities and decisions. I would like to highlight the successful decisions taken by the UAE Football Association in response to FIFA’s call to postpone all football competitions until the end of the crisis. I also quote Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, who stated that in terms of priorities, football comes second and the governing body has taken the necessary steps to ensure the wellbeing of players during the pandemic,” he added.
“The UAE is looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Union next year, which requires us to cooperate to improve the level of Emirati football and set a regional and international example. Through my experience as head of the UAE Football Association, Emirati Football has faced numerous challenges, but through the cooperation between clubs, officials, and players, as well as everyone’s support and the close monitoring of the country’s leadership, Emirati football has managed to achieve overall progress. We are looking forward to more successes in the years to come, and I am confident that Sheikh Rashid and his team are capable of realising the UAE’s footballing ambitions,” he further stated.
“Everyone hopes that the UAE Football Association will prioritise the training of Emirati youth, players, administrative staff, referees, coaches and technical staff, to lead the future of football in the country,” Sheikh Abdullah said, adding, “The Emirati media is required to perform its pivotal role in conveying the reality of what is taking place behind the scenes, and we all expect the media to be partners in supporting Emirati football.”
“During my presidency of the association, we were keen to implement a decision to allow foreign players to return to the Emirati league, to benefit from their expertise and raise the level of Emirati players, therefore, also raising the level of the Emirati league on Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, and Asian levels,” he stressed.
“Emirati clubs have managed to attract global names who have positively influenced the Emirati league over the years. The league has also enabled many distinguished foreign players to kick-start their professional careers. However, Emirati players, clubs and the association still need to exert more efforts and exchange expertise with international clubs and leagues, and everyone has the responsibility to overcome this challenge,” he affirmed.
“On the diplomatic front, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the country’s missions abroad are supporting the association, sports councils and clubs during international events. I encourage clubs to provide the ministry with suggestions and recommendations that will reinforce the country’s sports diplomacy. I would also like to stress the importance of sports, in general, and football, in particular, at local, regional and international levels, as well as their role in uniting peoples and promoting the country and its culture around the world,” Sheikh Abdullah said in conclusion.
Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, President of the UAEFA, thanked H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, for his inspirational speech that embodied the support provided by the UAE leadership and its sustained encouragement to the sports community and the provision of all the necessary means and resources to develop the football game and promote the country’s stature in the international sports scene.
Sheikh Rashid said, “His Highness’ words inspire us to continue working hard during the coming period in cooperation with everyone to achieve the UAE people’s aspirations for sports achievements
that bring joy to all Emiratis.”
Certainly, he added, opinions put forward during the retreat sessions will form the cornerstone for preparing “our strategic plan in the short, medium and long term.”
“There is no doubt that it was an opportunity for everyone to participate in preparing the development strategy for the work of the UAE Football Association during the next stage to advance the football game and enhance its position on the continental and global levels,” he further added in his concluding remarks to the two-day online forum that brought together representatives of the clubs, referees, coaches, players and the media.
“We will start today with the determination of the members of the UAEFA to employ these ideas to prepare an integrated mechanism to implement, follow up on all recommendations and proposals that have been put forward, and turn them into reality to improve performance and deliver aspired results.”
“We promise to continue to work hard and diligently to develop the performance of our sports and to live up to aspirations and expectations of the UAE leadership and people,” Sheikh Rashid said in conclusion.