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Sport Versus Crime conference in Dubai

Dubai: The fourth International Conference of Sport Versus Crime will be held under the theme ‘Sport without Crime’ at the Arjaan Rotana in Deira from November 25-27.

To be held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman, Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the fourth edition of the conference is being organised by the Dubai Police General Headquarters with Al Futtaim as official sponsor, Dodsal as Platinum sponsor, Eazeebiz as sponsorship partner and Medialand as main event organiser.

The first Sports Versus Crime Conference was held in 2004, the second edition in 2009 and the third one in 2011. With Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona already voicing his support to the fourth edition, Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police Deputy Commandant General spoke to Gulf News and explained various aspects of the three-day event that will highlight the inter-relation between sport and crime.

Following are the excerpts:

GULF NEWS: What is the significance of this conference in the UAE?

Major General Khamis: This conference is about sport and what happens around it in the UAE. That is the focal point and this is what we want to deal with during the three days of the event.

Do you have figures for the number of crimes or incidents during football matches or sporting events here?

No. We don’t have any figures. This is simply because security and issues concerning security, either for the players or spectators, is not an issue here at the moment. However, there are certain incidents that have occurred in the past [like a referee being hit from the stands at the end of last season during Al Ahli’s match against league winners Al Ain] and we want to put the focus on things like this.

What would be the relevance of this event then?

We have to get one thing straight here. We are not organising this conference because these things are happening in UAE sport or that we have been forced to tackle these issues. Our role at this point is to educate and make an impression in this particular field. No doubt, incidents from the past have brought this into focus and we thought it is time we moved in and have this conference.

How do you think local clubs and sports institutions will benefit?

To start with, we have set up separate committees and sub-committees to ensure that various solutions that crop up get through to the delegates locally first. We have invited clubs from Dubai and from the UAE and from the Gulf and Arab nations. They will be here for a learning process. We have also insisted that each club needs to be responsible for appointing people from within the clubs who will be responsible for the security at events that are held at their respective clubs.

What can we expect to gain from the conference?

There are some top sports and other personalities confirmed for the event. By having delegates from all over the world, we want to see what other countries have to say on the issues concerned. So we want this conference to be a dissemination of ideas so that the entire world of sport benefits. We want to hear them all, we want to see what sort of research they have been doing and what sort of solutions they have come up with to tackle crime in sport. In short, we want to use this event to enlighten society on the issues we face in sport.

What do you think will be the positives emerging from such a conference?

We need to have a starting point and this ought to be a benchmark for us here in the UAE. Football or any other sport is governed by universal laws of the game but we need to integrate the social rules and laws into the fabric of sport so that there is no discrepancy. Secondly, there may be practices in other countries that we may need to adopt and adapt and we will be willing to do so.