The introduction of the first ever television programme featuring UAE rugby will speed up the progress of the game eventually turning professional in the Emirates, according to the region’s top domestic clubs.
by Matt Jones
19th January 2016
The people behind the deal.
Clubs have unanimously backed the UAE Rugby Show, which will broadcast weekly highlights of the domestic game and national team matches from the first week of February.
The UAE Rugby Federation and Dubai Sports Channel yesterday finalised a two-year agreement that will see a weekly broadcast during the UAE rugby season.
The 30-minute show will offer highlights from the previous two weeks of UAE Premiership, Conference and Community League matches, as well as all the action from the cross-border West Asia Championship.
There will also be regular spots focusing on the various UAE national teams, Emirati development, club and player features and more.
“This is what rugby in the UAE needs,” said Al Ain Amblers director of rugby, Rocco de Bruyn.
“I don’t think people realise the importance media coverage plays in sport, especially if you are still in the developing stages of introducing a new code to a country.
“This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
“Long term I feel this is something that will help clubs become professional, that is the direction the sport is heading,” said Jebel Ali Dragons director of rugby, Paul Hart.
“This will simply speed up the process. This is a fantastic step forward for the sport in the region. It’s also a huge boost for clubs seeking sponsors.”
Secretary general of the UAE RF, Qais Al Dhalai said: “This is another exciting first for UAE Rugby. Our rugby community, from both the expatriate and the Emirati, is rich in interesting stories. We are confident the weekly show will be well received and supported by all and become an integral part of the wider UAE Rugby community’s week”.
Rashid Amiri, director general of Dubai Sports Channel, added: “Our team at Dubai Sports Channel is committed to producing a quality, interesting show that will connect local and expatriate viewers with relevant rugby content (and) will boost the efforts and profile of UAE Rugby across our platform.”
The UAE Rugby Show will be broadcast in English and will offer Arabic subtitles.