x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sports crime unheard of in the UAE, Dubai police chief says

A three-day conference to be held in the UAE will focus on raising awareness against violence and drug use among the younger generation.

DUBAI// Sports crime is unheard of in the UAE, Dubai Police said ahead of a three-day prevention conference on the use of drugs and encouraging fair play amongst sportsmen.

“About 24 countries are participating in the conference,” said Maj Gen Mattar Khamis Al Mazeina, deputy commander in chief of Dubai Police. “We will use other countries as a benchmark and if we find any practices that are good, we will follow them. We want to educate and teach our people something new. We want to study and see what is happening. We have a committee for that.”

Maj Gen Al Mazeina said that it was important to promote “fair play” and raise awareness against violence and drug use among the UAE’s younger generation but maintained crime was unheard of in sports here.

The fourth International Sports Vs Crime Conference will begin next week and is organised by Dubai Police. It will see local and international researchers and police officials debate ways to combat crimes in sporting events.

Dubai Police said its force would look at anti-crime measures prevalent in other countries that could be adopted in the UAE.

The previous conference in 2011 focused on the use of sport in reforming prisoners in the country. However, this year’s event would largely look at substance abuse by sportsmen and mob rage at games.

Argentinian footballer and former manager of Dubai’s Al Wasl, Diego Maradona, said crimes were a reality at international games.

“It is important to protect the younger generation and the Emirati society from such crimes like drug use,” said Mr Maradona, who is currently the sports ambassador for Dubai and a speaker at the conference. “I have witnessed such problems. We need to educate the new generation about the impact of drugs and fight these problems using sport,” he said, in his native language, Spanish.

“Sports is important for a safe society. We need to teach them good sports and I will put all my effort in combating crimes,” he added.

Col Dr Jassim Khalil Mirza, the general coordinator of the conference from Dubai Police, who will present a paper at the event, said he had examined sports journalism in the UAE.

“My focus is on all sports magazines and channels and how they educate people on violence and crime in sports. I have built my research on this,” he said.

A survey by Col Mirza found that the media was promoting awareness about crime in sports among UAE residents.

“I sent more than 800 questionnaires to students in schools and colleges and players. Over 75 per cent said the press in the UAE educated them against crime.”

The conference will take place at the Dubai Police Club from November 25.

PKannan@thenational.ae