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Dubai to host inaugural Basketball Champions League 2024



In a landmark agreement unveiled at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Regional Office Asia and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai have officially announced their partnership to host the highly anticipated Basketball Champions League Asia 2024. The ceremonial signing, attended by Mr. Hagop Khajirian, FIBA Executive Director Asia, and Majid Sultan, Executive Director of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, marks a significant milestone in the world of basketball. Also present was Mr. Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), part of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, emphasizing the strategic importance of this collaboration. This partnership sets the stage for an electrifying championship experience, showcasing the dynamic fusion of sport and culture in Dubai.

Last week, FIBA Regional Office Asia awarded the hosting rights of the inaugural Basketball Champions League Asia to the city of Dubai, underscoring its status as a premier destination for sporting events of international acclaim.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the upcoming tournament, Mr. Khajirian stated, “This club competition in Asia boasts a rich history and tradition, yet this year’s edition holds special significance as it marks the debut of the rebranded Basketball Champions League Asia. It represents another strategic milestone in fulfilling FIBA’s objective of reshaping the landscape of international club competitions.“

I am thrilled and eagerly anticipating the tip-off in Dubai. For this, I want to extend my gratitude to Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and the UAE Basketball Association for their support and facilitation in organizing this inaugural edition in Dubai, he added.

“We at Shabab Al-Ahli Club are delighted to host the inaugural edition of the Basketball Champions League Asia. The trust bestowed upon us by FIBA Regional Office Asia  underscores Dubai’s stature as a premier destination for athletes and sporting events. With our outstanding infrastructure and talented team, we embrace the challenge and pledge to deliver an extraordinary edition.” said Mr. Sultan.

“I want to thank the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai for their invaluable cooperation and support in unveiling the BCL Asia 2024 hosting agreement contract signing at the Arabian Travel Market. This partnership not only captures the spotlight among attendees, exhibitors, and media but also underscores the synergy between event organizers and the host city, amplifying anticipation for the upcoming tournament and nurturing industry bonds. We appreciate the Department’s ongoing assistance in ensuring the success of the event, he added.
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said: “Our commitment to bringing world-class international sporting events to Dubai aligns with the strategic goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading global city for business and leisure.  Sport is a central pillar in our tourism and events ecosystem, and the Basketball Champions League Asia 2024, which further strengthens Dubai’s year-round international sports calendar, is set to attract spectators from around the world, as well as appealing to basketball fans among our resident population. As Dubai looks forward to hosting this championship for the first time, we are confident it will be a resounding success, delivering an exceptional experience to players and spectators alike, and further highlighting Dubai’s position as an international events destination.”

Slated to be played from 9 to 15 June, the inaugural edition of Asia’s top-tier club competition will feature 8 champion clubs from 8 Asian countries. Two of these eight teams, Pelita Jaya Basketball (Indonesia) and NS Matrix Deers (Malaysia), have already secured their spots through the recently concluded BCL Asia Qualifiers. Two additional spots will be secured by the finalists of the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) Final 8.



Abu Dhabi bans single-use styrofoam products from June 1



Single-use styrofoam products will be banned in Abu Dhabi from June 1, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development announced on X.

As part of the ban, Abu Dhabi is targeting avoidable, single-use consumer products. Specifically, the banned products comprise cups, lids, plates and beverage containers (including their caps and lids) made of expanded polystyrene. In addition, food container receptacles for products that are intended for immediate consumption, either on the spot or for takeaway, or containers that have a product that is typically consumed from the receptacle and is ready to be consumed without any further preparation such as cooking, boiling or heating, will also be prohibited.

Items exempt from this ban include:

-Reusable storage boxes


-Items intended for medical use

The initiative to ban single-use Styrofoam is an extension of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy, and supports the aims of the Year of Sustainability.

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World League of Fighters announces grand launch in Bangkok: Winners to secure golden tickets to UAE’s inaugural season



The World League of Fighters (WLF), the first-of-its-kind franchise based league-styled Muay Thai tournament, announced the grand launch ceremony for the inaugural season on June 1st at the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. Sticking to the league’s ideology of sportainment, the mega launch event will offer the audiences mesmerising live musical performances from some of the renowned artists along with an action-packed fight night comprising of five intense bouts to mesmerise the local Muay Thai fans.

To further capture the imagination of the audiences all around the world, the launch ceremony will be held at the highly popular the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently owned and run by the Royal Thai Army, the Stadium is regarded as the symbol of modern Muay Thai, and is frequented by the fans who pack the stadium in large numbers each week to witness thrilling fights.

The grand event will be attended by Mr. Rajesh Banga, Chairman World League of Fighters, Mr. Rahul Saxena, President World League of Fighters, Mr. Sunil Mathew, Co-Founder World League of Fighters, Mr. Nilesh Pundir, Co-Founder of World League of Fighters, along with President WBC Muay Thai, Colonel Thanapol Bhakdibhumi. Mr. Samer Al Suojhayer, Co-Founder and Head of Operations WLF Asia, Mr. Kevin P. Noone, Secretary General WBC Muay Thai, and Mr. Fouad Darwish Ceo & Managing Director of Palms Sports will also be present to witness the spectacle.

To kick start the exciting Muay Thai action, USA’s Matt baker will face off against Azerbaijan’s Rauf Gerayzade in the Cruiserweight bout, while Thailand’s own Satanfah Sitsongpeenong will take on Iran’s Mohammad Sirasani in the Middleweight fight. India’s Surya Sagar will vie for a win when he takes on Lithuania’s Deividas Danyla in Welterweight match, and Russia’s Dana Begzhanova will also be in action against Spain’s Alba Morral in the Women’s Featherweight bout. The winners of the four bouts will get a Golden Ticket to the inaugural season of the World League of Fighters which will take place in Abu Dhabi later this year. The Muay Thai action will close with the Headline Contest between Kazakhstan’s Ali Kabdulla and Armenia’s Martun Mezhlumyan in a 170 Pound Catchweight contest.

To further add to the spectacle, the fans will get a chance to groove along with the biggest Thai pop sensation Kratae Rsiam, who recently opened Bruno Mars’ concert in Bangkok, and will be performing live at the launch ceremony. The renowned local musical artist Tong Twopee, who has garnered a cult-like following on social media, will also be performing live for the audience in attendance.

Speaking on the upcoming Launch event, Mr. Rajesh Banga, Chairman World League of Fighters said, “The Launch event in Bangkok is a tiny teaser of the extravaganza that we will be presenting to the world with the inaugural season of World League of Fighters. We are bringing a revolution to the world of combat sports, and we are confident our vision will resonate with the global masses. The Launch event will not only give the fans a chance to enjoy live Muay Thai fights, but also allow them to engage with live musical performances. We are grateful to WBC Muay Thai for their constant support and for the Thailand and Bangkok government authorities for allowing us to showcase our vision at the Mecca of Muay Thai – the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.”

WLF partnered with World Boxing Council Muay Thai last year to revolutionise the sport of Muay Thai and spread its reach across the globe. This is the first time in the Combat Sport World, a franchise-based league-style tournament is being organised featuring 20 of the world’s best male and female Muay Thai fighters. The renowned international combat sports stars will be divided into 4 franchises that will compete against each other in a round-robin format, to claim the Coveted WLF * WBC Title Belt.

President WBC Muay Thai, Colonel Thanapol Bhakdibhumi, added: “It is about time the adrenaline-pumping sport of Muay Thai gets a revamp. A league-styled competition of such magnitude is a celebration will boost the popularity of the sport and expand its reach beyond horizon. The upcoming Launch event is a moment of celebration for all Muay Thai fans, aficionados, trainers, and fighters not only in Thailand, but all around the globe, and we want to give them a show that they will never ever forget. The mingling of Muay Thai with entertainment is an unprecedented chapter in the history of combat sports and we cannot wait to present a glimpse of what is in store for the fans.”

The event is slated to take place in UAE in September.

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UAE announces 10 year Blue Residency Visa



The UAE has announced a long-term residency for environment advocates. Called ‘Blue Residency’, the 10-year visa will be granted to individuals who have made “exceptional contributions and efforts in the field of protecting the environment”.

Applicable fields include boosting the air quality and green technology. “The sustainability of our economy has become linked to the sustainability of our environment,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as he chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Blue Residency: Who is eligible

The Blue Residency will specifically be granted to supporters of environmental action. This includes members of international organizations, international companies, members of associations and non-governmental organizations and global award winners. It also includes distinguished activists and researchers in environmental work. Those are interested in the residency are invited to submit their applications through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security, or through nominations by competent authorities.

The UAE already grants 10-year residency visas, called golden visas, to eligible investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.

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