Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum "has granted his official patronage for next year's 25th edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic," according to GULF NEWS. The longest-running European Tour event in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa region will be held at Emirates Golf Club from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. The event "will be attended by all surviving past champions," including the current world No. 1 and 2, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, respectively. The $2.5M tournament "will be preceded by the Champions Challenge, an 18-hole stroke-play showpiece," which will see former winners of the event contest for a share of the $600,000 prize fund on the Majlis course on Jan. 28 (GULF NEWS, 7/17).
Events and Attractions
When Slovenia hosts EuroBasket 2013 in September, it will "qualify as the biggest sporting event in the country's history," according to Jesús Pérez Ramos of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The competition, which will run from Sept. 4-22, "will be the culminating moment of activities that have been planned for more than two years." The organizers have offers for help from 2,536 volunteers in a country "with a population of only 2 million." The number of volunteers "created a problem because only 1,100 are needed, meaning the rest were rejected." The cities hosting the games -- Ljubljana, Celje, Koper and Jesenice -- will "create zones with bars, basketball-related activities and big screen TVs for those who cannot get tickets." The cities have also "allowed bars and restaurants to increase their business hours to satisfy demand" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/17).
The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup's official webpage will be the exclusive channel for tickets, according to MARCA. As the first novelty, the "Follow your team" theme will allow fans to reserve seats for every game in which their team plays. The ticket sales system "by which every basketball fan can acquire tickets for the event, which will be held from Aug. 30-Sept. 14 of '14," is already prepared. The first phase of the 24-team tournament will take place in Granada, Bilbao, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Seville, with Barcelona and Madrid as the sites of of the final phase. Under the "Follow your team" system, "fans will be able to purchase tickets for a club's five Preliminary Phase contests and every other game in which their team is able to compete." There will also be "city, day and session passes sold," with ticket prices starting as low as €15 ($20). For the first time, "FIBA will use a resale program and secondary market that are able to receive 100% of original ticket prices." Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) President José Luis Sáez: "The FIBA World Cup is one of the best events in international basketball and it is a unique opportunity for fans of basketball and sports in general to be close to the best players in the world. Because of this, we are going to make available to fans the best possible tool to help participate in an event with full stands" (MARCA, 7/17).
Pro12 rugby side Cardiff "will host European rugby's showpiece weekend for a record seventh time when the Millennium Stadium stages the Heineken Cup final" in '14, according to the BBC. The Heineken Cup final is on Saturday, May 24, "while the Amlin Challenge Cup final is at Cardiff Arms Park" May 23. Cardiff has staged the Heineken Cup final on six previous occasions, "including the very first final at the old National Stadium" in '96. Welsh Rugby Union CEO Roger Lewis "confirmed to the BBC in June his intention to bid for the final after the French Rugby Federation withdrew from staging the final in Paris." The French decision to withdraw from holding both finals in '14 "is the result of uncertainty over the availability of Stade de France" (BBC, 7/17).
The controversy between the Chilean Olympic Committee (COCH) and the Chilean National Football Association (ANFP) is continuing regarding "whether football activity will be interrupted during the South American (ODESUR) Games that will take place in Santiago in March," according to EMOL. The ANFP's position is "leaving no room for doubts." ANFP President Sergio Jadue: "Football will not stop during the ODESUR Games. We will have the intention of cooperating, and we have taken a series of measures. I am not going to allow any government meddling in football." When asked about the COCH's opinion that football would take away attention from the continental competition, Jadue said that "this was not football's problem." Jadue said, "The COCH has never approached us to discuss programming, ever. The only person that has talked to me was National Sports Institute Dir Gabriel Ruiz-Tagle, who told me of his concern regarding the overlap between the national football championship and the ODESUR Games, which would mean, among other things, less attention from the media" (EMOL, 7/17).
Suffering from "a severe lack of funding," the Indonesian task-force managing the preparations for December’s Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar said on Tuesday that it "may be forced to scrap several athletic squads from its roster in order to focus on teams that have an actual shot at winning their events" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 7/17). ... Tickets to the Commonwealth Bank Ashes Series between Australia and England sold faster in the first three hours Wednesday than in the initial 24-hour period in '10-11 (CA). ... More than 2,000 athletes from 200 countries will participate in the 2014 IAAF World Championships in Moscow. Organizing Committee Exec Dir Alexander Polinsky said that nearly all tickets have been sold for the first weekend in which Usain Bolt is expected to run the 100m final. More than 70% of tickets have been sold for the second weekend (XINHUA, 7/17). ... The Int'l Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) announced that Qatar will host the 2015 World Amateur Boxing Championships (SID, 7/17).