The General Authority of Sports (GAS) convened a media briefing to discuss the Federal Law No. 4 of 2023 concerning sports. This law is unprecedented in the UAE's sports sector due to its comprehensive new articles and provisions, which will contribute significantly to achieving the desired development in all aspects of sports work, this development is in perfect harmony with the objectives of the National Sports Strategy 2031, which aims to enhance the regulatory framework and sports infrastructure.
The briefing was led by His Excellency Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Hussein, Director General of the General Authority of Sports, in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Suhail bin Butti Al Maktoum, Executive Director of the Sports Development Sector at the General Authority of Sports, and members of the Supreme Committee for Drafting the Sports Law. These distinguished members include His Excellency Brigadier General Abdul Rahman Khalifa Al Shaer, Deputy Director of the General Department of Human Rights at the Dubai Police General Command, and Dr. Muhammed Fadlallah, International sports consultant and Legal Advisor of the National Olympic Committee.
During the briefing, attendees were provided with an overview of the law's most notable articles, meticulously crafted and aligned with the best international sports practices, in accordance with the Olympic Charter, the Paralympic Charter, and relevant national and international laws and regulations.
His Excellency Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Hussein said: “The issuance of the Sports Law reflects the keenness of our wise leadership to place UAE sports as one of its foremost priorities and a major axis in its vision for the future, in line with the National Sports Strategy 2031 and the objectives of the “We the UAE 2031” vision. This new legislation marks a significant milestone in the process of development and advancement of the sports sector in the UAE to new levels.”
His Excellency added: “This law represents the culmination of years of efforts by GAS, as well as its expert and specialist partners over the past years. This law was drafted with the assistance of a special committee comprising 15 experts, who contributed a great deal of effort to make it a success. We have strived to share it with all our partners at the National Olympic Committee, sports councils, local governments across the seven emirates, and sports federations and clubs, while also promoting dialogue with the Federal National Council. Comparative and standardization research was carried out, along with the review of 12 international practices related to sports organization and governance in order to create a reference law and improve the UAE’s sports both regionally and globally.”
His Excellency Sheikh Suhail bin Butti Al Maktoum said: “The Sports Law plays a vital role in fostering a unified and holistic governance framework for all sports organizations and categories within the UAE. It accomplishes this by recognizing innovative tools and methods that contribute to the realization of national sports goals. The law aims to cultivate a collaborative sports community that spans both the public and private sectors, empowering Emirati athletes to attain exceptional accomplishments across diverse sporting arenas. In doing so, the law will further cement the position of UAE on the worldwide sports stage in line with the visions and aspirations of our wise leadership.”
“The Sports Law unifies and integrates the objectives set for the development of the sports sector at both the federal and local levels. It does so by promoting wider participation in sports across all segments of society and supporting the capabilities of competent authorities to offer accessible sports and physical activities. This includes the provision of world-class sports facilities and equipment, encouraging sports and physical education in government institutions, facilitating participation for people of determination, promoting sports in schools and universities, and fostering a sports-centric culture throughout society.” H.E. added.
The Sports Law targets three basic sports segments, the first being community sports players, which it encourages all groups of society to participate in physical and sporting activities, individually or collectively. This, held under the slogan 'Sports For All,’ is to increase the proportion of individuals participating in diverse sports to 71 percent, in line with the National Sports Strategy 2031. The second segment consists of competitive sports players and aims to assist sports entities in achieving sports excellence on a local and global scale by promoting competition and talent discovery. The third segment includes people of determination, as the law encourages them to participate in all physical and sporting activities in clubs, schools, and workplaces. They can also form national teams to participate in major sporting events.
Likewise, the law also targets 10 supporting segments consisting of Government and private sports entities, including the National Olympic Committee, the National Paralympic Committee, the National Anti-Doping Agency, the Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations, as well as private sports clubs. Additionally, public-private sports facilities, sports arbitration, the health sector, students, athletes in the military services and police, and all other stakeholders will be impacted by the new law.
During the briefing, the most important sections of the law that would govern every aspect of sports work in the UAE were reviewed. The law provides guidance on how to distinguish between hobbies and professions, as well as defines activities that require approval from the General Authority of Sports, regulates international coordination with the Authority, and addresses issues relating to international participation of various sports entities and registration with foreign sports entities. In a bid to increase investments in sports to strengthen the national economy and increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP by 0.5 percent by 2031, the law additionally permits sports federations to enter into partnerships with national, foreign, sporting, or non-sporting institutions within or outside the UAE.
For the first time, the new Sports Law covers a range of other articles, most notably the allocation of suitable spaces for exercise in residential facilities and complexes in the nation, organisation of sports professions in public and private sectors, and incorporation of the Special Olympics UAE and the UAE Hearing Impairment Committee to represent the nation in regional, continental, and international competitions. It also covers the Authority’s conclusion of a performance agreement with sports federations, including the National Olympic Committee and the National Paralympic Committee as signatories to the agreement, to promote collaborations and support the development of the sports sector.
The new law also includes an article on the support and growth of elite and high-level sports, as well as the preparation of national sports teams to compete in international events, which will increase opportunities for sporting accomplishments at the continental, global, and Olympic levels. This will pave the way for one of the National Sports Strategy 2031's most prominent goals, which is to have more than 30 Olympic participants by 2031.
Furthermore, the law supports the establishment of sports associations and encourages their autonomy. This will enable them to play their role in organising and managing relevant sporting events, as well as highlighting the commitment of sports clubs and federations to maintain the safety and health of athletes within an anti-doping environment.
The law places a strong emphasis on how students can develop their athletic abilities. In addition to allocating a percentage of its resources to the activities of various age groups, it focuses on the creation of national plans to identify and foster sporting talents in sports clubs and schools in collaboration with the relevant authorities.
In the following phase, the General Authority of Sports seeks to issue executive regulations and supplementary regulations of the Sports Law. Through the application of the law, the Authority aims to promote its efforts in strengthening sports authorities' adherence to the norms and standards of sustainability and leadership, developing their working systems, and improving their performance in order to achieve institutional excellence.
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