DOHA: The third edition of Aspire4Sport, the Middle East’s leading sports business congress and exhibition, opens in the Qatari capital today.
Scores of sports personalities and renowned speakers will attend this year’s edition to be held at Aspire Academy.
The four-day event - to be held from today to November 15 - will welcome more than 3,000 delegates, including 500 sports industry leaders and 250 accredited media professionals.
It is the only event of its kind in the region that provides a unique occasion for sport’s leading decision makers in the Middle East and around the world to connect, network and capitalise on real business opportunities.
In addition, there will be daily ‘Star Chats’ where guests will have the opportunity to listen to some of the world’s leading sports legends.
A few of the names attending the conference are former world number one tennis player Martina Hingis, Real Madrid and Spain legends Raul Gonzalez and Fernando Ruiz Hierro.
Former Real Madrid Sporting Director, Pedja Mijatovic; former football manager of the French national team and Liverpool FC, Gerard Houllier, and Anthony Joshua, London 2012 super heavyweight Olympic gold medalist will also be speaking.
Speaking alongside Romanian football great Gheorghe Hagi will be Raul, who currently plays for Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd; and retired Real Madrid defender Hierro.
Heiro, 44, will share the invaluable insight gained from a career made up of 500 official games, four World Cups and two European Championships
Mijatovic, owner of the golden goal in the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final that brought the biggest European title back to Madrid after an absence of 32 years, will also speak.
Hagi, selected Golden Player of Romania in 2003, is one of the few footballers in the world to have played for both the Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
The Romanian is considered one of the greatest footballers having played with the national team during World Cups 1990, 1994 and 1998.
Former world heavyweight champion and Britain’s Lennox Lewis will also be in attendance. The ‘Star Chat’ panels are free of charge.
The organisers have also planned a unique football match: a Barca-Madrid veterans game during the conference.
The match is seen as one of the event’s main attractions. The Agrupacio Barca Jugadors team will play the Classic Legends Match against a side of ex-Real Madrid stars.
The game will see the debut for the Barcelona veterans of such big names as Ronald de Boer, Bolo Zenden, Jari Litmanen, Vitor Baía alongside players such as Goikoetxea, and Reiziger. With the presence of sports business experts to take part in discussions and exhibitions, this year’s new slogan “Connecting Business&Sport,” Aspire4Sport aims to ensure that valued partners and participants will be given the opportunity to conduct business to business meetings with the key decision makers from major sporting entities across Qatar and the region.
Ward Abdallah, Executive Director, Aspire4Sport, said: “This year’s Aspire4Sport is the place to be for sports professionals and investors,” he said recently in Doha.
The Congress and Conference will begin today with Aspire Med.
Dr Khalifa Al Kuwari, CEO, of Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital and Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, CEO, Hamad Medical Corportation, will address the guests at Aspire Dome building in Doha.