After the three matches between Pakistan and Australia what other events will you be holding?
There’ll be a lot more cricketing events within Dubai Sports City. We are planning something in October; within a month or so we’ll make an announcement about what we’re doing. Apart from that, the cricket stadium will be an ideal venue for concerts, so we’re talking to many providers within the UAE to bring in artists to this area.
So we could see big pop acts at the cricket stadium?
Definitely, both pop acts as well as Bollywood and big Arab singers as well.
Can you give us any names?
At the moment, no, because we’re currently talking to a lot of them. We have brought in a lot of people to see the cricket stadium, watch the matches, see what facilities have been provided. We’ve been talking to all the major people here including people from overseas. They’ve all been invited to dinner.
We’ve heard the Dubai Tennis Championships might come here. Is that confirmed?
They are in talks with us and I think, hopefully, they will choose our venues and move in. But in the long run I think for any major events, whether it’s within the arena of sport other than truly equestrian and velodrome, I think Sports City would be the ideal fit.
And you have an agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board for events?
That is not only with the PCB, we’ve done it with all the boards, practically. And we are now in the final stages of finishing it with Australia, India, as well as England. Other than that every other board is signed with us to stage one-day internationals here.
So, have you seen many famous faces coming to have a look at what you’ve been up to?
Yeah, we’ve had a lot of people come in. I’ve had Luis Figo here, I’ve had Cristiano Ronaldo come into the school last year and we’ve had Alex Ferguson come in a couple of times. We’ve had a few cricketers, Rahul Dravid, as well as Clive Lloyd, Sunil Gavaskar, and then we’ve had the likes of Anil Kumble and everybody else. You know, one thing that is very heartening is that globally people are aware of what we are doing in Sports City, especially in the sports industry. I’ve even had Hugh Grant playing golf at the Els Club.
In the past there has been talk about the Olympics. Could you host that?
To be honest with you that’s both a state and a national-level subject. We are facilities, owners and providers of facilities. You need a lot of duplicate facilities, you need Olympic villages – you have to do a lot of things. We’ve got a 60,000 stadium, then you have a 25,000-seater stadium. We’ll have an indoor facility with a retractable roof for about 15,000, we’ll have fi eld hockey for 5,000, yet that’s not enough for the Olympics. But yes, if you have Pan-Arab Games or some sort of local championship or regional championship, we can hold that.