UEFA plans five-year project for UAE clubs

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UEFA marketing manager Noel Mooney called on football clubs to introduce a mandatory five-year plan to reverse dwindling attendance figures on Monday.

Mooney was speaking at a two-day Asian Football Confederation (AFC) development workshop at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Dubai, which was attended by representatives of all 14 sides. His comments follow a 15.3 per cent decrease in year-on-year attendances in the last season, according to Middle Eastern football website Ahdaaf.me.

“I went to two matches last night and while the UAE has a lot of advantages over other leagues we work with in terms of facilities and resources, people are not physically going to the games,” he said.

To combat this, he suggested: “I think we need to start looking at making it mandatory for clubs to have a five-year plan, if I was the marketing director for the league that would be the kick-off point.

“You have to have a common vision of where the league and clubs want to go, and for the appropriately qualified people to be in roles to discharge their duties.

“If you can’t tell me exactly where you want to be in five years time you are operating on a month-to-month basis and you are going nowhere,” added Mooney, who used to work for the Football Association of Ireland and used Irish club case studies such as Sligo and Shamrock Rovers as examples of teams that had quickly increased attendances from hundreds into the thousands.

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