Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hedging their bets

Press release from official news agency of United Arab Emirates --

National Security Adviser, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council H.H. Sheikh Haza bin Zayed Al Nahyan has received Manchester United Club delegation, and representatives of Reem Investments Company, who inked a deal to expand Man United football schools for juniors in Abu Dhabi and other emirates.

Wait a minute ... Abu Dhabi and Manchester United?  Shouldn't it be Manchester City?

Manchester City Football Club is owned 100% by His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The two Sheikhs are presumably half brothers.  So both clubs would need to be on guard against thinking of themselves as having the inside track.  Anyway, in another news report about the MoneyChest Utd engagement --

Gill [Man Utd CEO] did not rule out the possibility of their first team playing in Abu Dhabi in the future although their current schedule only allows for a tour in July to prepare for the season ahead.

“Abu Dhabi is an interesting footballing area. We played in Saudi Arabia three years ago. What we don’t have in England at the moment is a winter break unfortunately. Most of the Premier League clubs would like one so that there will be some training programme here. But there is nothing in the calendar at moment but we don’t rule it out in the future,” said Gill who acknowledged the importance of the region with 2022 World Cup decision.

Note: he says the English clubs would like a winter break in the club season, because it would open (unsaid: potentially lucrative) tours of the Gulf.

It looks getting this 2022 World Cup moved to winter may not be as hard as people fear.

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