Sports federations and stakeholders discuss UAE's sports strategy
A number of Olympic athletes to be qualified in the next 11 years
The General Authority of Sports gathered representatives of the Olympic Committee, various sports federations, and other stakeholders from the UAE sports sector in an interactive workshop to discuss the proposed UAE Sports Sector Strategy 2032, and engage them in setting its initiatives and programmes.
The interactive workshop followed a series of meetings with decision-makers and stakeholders in the sector in an effort to engage them in setting priorities and outlining a roadmap for the sports sector in the future.
In his opening speech during the workshop, Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Chairman of the Olympic Committee, and First Deputy President of the UAE National Olympic Committee, said: “We prioritise collaboration in our activities with our partners at the Olympic Committee, in sports federations, and in all relevant UAE authorities. This is a strategic approach for us and the tactic we plan on implementing to develop the sports sector in the UAE, explore promising opportunities, establish a competitive and professional sports sector, and empower Emirati sports icons that excel and promote the UAE on the world stage.”
Transformation Programme for Federations
The strategy contains a comprehensive transformational programme for sports federations in the UAE. It reflects an ambitious national vision for a sports community capable of achieving global success. Consisting of 54 strategic initiatives, the vision is underpinned by three major transformational themes: mass participation, high performance, and the sports ecosystem.
The first theme, mass participation, consists of several initiatives that aim to increase participation in sports activities to 65%. The Strategy also seeks, under the “high performance” theme to qualify more than 20 Olympic athletes in the next 11 years. The final “sports ecosystem” theme consists of a series of initiatives that aim to increase the sports sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP.
The strategy identified five requirements for sports federations to succeed: Setting clear goals and directions; effective leadership and governance; enhancing technical and operational capabilities; setting calculated, transparent, and clear budgets; and revenue generation through partnerships with the private sector.
The programme addresses challenges related to financing and transparency, in addition to offering support for hosting international tournaments, talent development programmes, and training camps. It also strives to enhance competitiveness in local tournaments; develop facilities and infrastructure; increase coordination between clubs, federations, the Authority, and the Olympic Committee; support candidates for positions in international sports bodies; and develop women’s sports and talent acquisition.
The programme has four core principles: Performance-based funding; periodic evaluation of federations’ work; support provided by the General Authority of Sports and the Olympic Committee to accelerate the transformation; and governance, which calls for new processes and policies to evaluate performance.
“We plan to run a participatory system to ensure sports federations succeed,” Al Falasi commented. “The system will be centred around effective leadership and governance, and will introduce an integrated system to finance and support federations, while boosting private-sector investments and increasing revenues for sports federations and the sector as a whole. We also have a new sports law to look forward to, which will define roles and responsibilities in the sector.”
“Sports has the potential to be a leading contributor in the UAE’s sustainable development, enhancing its presence on the world stage, and laying the foundations for a bright future for Emirati youth,” he continued. “With these objectives in mind, we rely on governance to bring about a real transformation in the sports sector and we place it at the heart of any plans we set for the sector.”
Sports Coordination Council
The Sports Coordination Council brings together members from five ministries, as well as the General Authority of Sports, the National Olympic Committee, and sports councils. It aims to promote sports and physical activity, foster strategic cooperation and consensus among stakeholders, oversee the development of community sports programmes, and build an integrated sports database.
Digital Platform for Sports Federations
The proposed strategy calls for launching a digital platform for sports federations, allowing them to access digital services that can drive the digital transformation of the sports sector, generate reliable sports-related data, and promote the use of advanced technologies. It provides a single platform for all sports federations, which helps enhance productivity, support planning for the future of the sports system, create investment opportunities, and promote governance.
The interactive workshop saw attendees constructively engage with one another and with the General Authority of Sports. Representing their respective federations, participants emphasised the importance of the UAE Sports Sector Strategy and its role in enhancing the sports sector and empowering it to achieve success in competitions and championships.
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