By Tom Arnold
Top international tournament set for first half of 2009, dates being finalised.
An international cricket tournament is set to be staged at Dubai Sports City within the first half of 2009, with a number of international sides in final talks about playing in the competition, a source close to the development revealed on Thursday.
Dubai Sports City is expected to make an announcement within the next few weeks on the inaugural event, which would be recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and would feature the leading test playing nations including England, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh.
“Dubai Sports City is in final talks with a number of international sides to finalise the staging of a tournament at Dubai Sports City to be played in the next few months,” said source close to Dubai Sports City added.
Organisers are trying to find a suitable slot for the tournament within the future tour schedules of international teams and it is hoped following the first event in 2009 the competition will become an annual fixture within the international cricket calendar.
Designed to host both Test and Twenty-20 cricket, the 25,000 capacity cricket stadium, which will be expandable to 30,000, will include state-of-the-art facilities for players, match officials, VIPs, spectators and the media.
It has already been confirmed that the 2009 Men's Hockey Asia Cup will be staged in May at the 5,000 seat field hockey stadium.
Meanwhile, the ICC global Cricket Academy, WorldHockey Academy, David Lloyd Tennis Academy, Butch Harman School of Golf, Football Academy - to be the home of Manchester United Soccer School, Dubai - Rugby and Swimming Academies are all nearing completion and will launch at the development within the first half of 2009.
The academies could begin offering programmes and courses for schools and Dubai residents as early as the next two to three months.
Residents are about to start moving into the first phase of luxury homes at Victory Heights, the residential villa development which runs around the Els Club golf course
Dubai Sports City president Khalid Al Zarooni said: “Once we actually open the academies, start hosting international events and begin welcoming residents into Dubai Sports City – all of which will happen in 2009 – that will be the surest sign of our success.
“About 80 percent of our sub-developers are under construction, and the master development’s infrastructure and utilities are built and operational.”
Dubai Sports City has already released Canal Residence West, a waterside development featuring traditional Moorish architecture-style architecture, and Gateway Towers, a signature commercial project.
On the retail side, Carrefour has been announced as the anchor of the project’s Arena Mall, with a 136,000 square foot hypermarket.
Dubai Sports City is a $ 4 billion, 50 million square feet mixed-use development which will be the world’s first integrated purpose-built sports city.
In addition to the cricket and hockey stadia, Dubai Sports City will include a 60,000 capacity multi-purpose outdoor stadium for football, rugby, track and field, a 10,000 seat multi-purpose indoor arena and a 72-par, 18-hole championship golf course designed by South African star Ernie Els.