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‘Michael Owen’s move will help football in the UAE’
Alex Leach / 28 June 2012
DUBAI — Michael Owen’s proposed move to Al Shabab would be beneficial to the local football scene across the entire emirate, according to a prominent figure at the Dubai Sports Council.
Owen and his advisors are believed to be ‘close to a deal’ with the Al Mamzar-based outfit, despite contradictory reports regarding Shabab’s exact interest in sealing the free transfer move emerging over the past 24 hours or so.
Lingering doubts remain as to the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker’s injury record in recent seasons, especially with his advancing years at the age of 32.
However, the director of marketing and sport promotions at DSC, Rashid Al Kamali, believes Owen’s vast experience and pedigree would be invaluable to Shabab and UAE football overall from an attendance perspective.
“I think Michael would add value, with his higher level of technical skills that Shabab needs,” he explained.
“There’s also the presence of the community that’s behind him and will support him and be present at his games.
“The more big stars we have will help us to raise up the presence of the fans.
“This is where the biggest challenge lies – to create that unique atmosphere for more communities to be engaged with these matches. Bringing in big stars from different countries will add value. We’re looking forward to see a difference experience this season.”
Owen’s possible arrival would also further enhance global exposure to the UAE Pro-League, which has already welcomed the likes of World Cup winners Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Maradona and David Trezeguet in the past two seasons alone.
“The standard that we play in the UAE is to the degree that these names can add value,” Al Kamali added.
“We’ve experienced in the last decade that the big names really created a good standard of football and also added value from the media and fans’ perspectives.
“Most of these names have their own fans around the world, as well as in the UAE, so they would love to see them.
“It’s a big opportunity for them to be here, really add to their careers and contribute towards developing football in this region.”
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