Sport is a universal language, a manner of uniting people and overcoming differences. These were a few of the values we reflected on yesterday with the launch of As Arabia at midday in the Spanish FA in Las Rozas. A website in classic Arabic aimed at the almost 500 million Arabic speakers in 25 countries from Mauritania to the Gulf, all anxious and keen to find out the latest sports news (with the Champions League being particularly popular). The initiative is similar to our presence in Latin American markets where in the past four years localised versions of the website offer the best in the latest sports news.
As Arabia is a co-venture with Qatari based Dar Al Sharq, with the presentation being staged at the headquarters of the RFRF (Spanish Football Federation). Both José Ramón Lete and Alejandro Blanco spoke at the event along with Qatar's ambassador to Spain Mohammed Al Kuwari and legendary Italian journalist Gianni Merlo. Along with colleagues from the PRISA and Dar Al Sharq groups we were all delighted with the surprise visit of Xavi Hernández, who coincidentally was at the centre working on his coaching course. A wonderful time was had with both parties enthusiastic and excited about the new venture that lies ahead.
Late draw at the Emirates
Of course, this is just the starting point and now is the time to roll up the sleeves as the hard work starts. Fortunately we have the world of sport as our ally with it's never-ending drama and manner of engaging with so many all around the planet. This was my thinking as I watched Atlético Madrid in action in the Europa League last night as they were forced to play the bulk of the game with ten men and even managed to secure a late equaliser through Griezmann. We're lucky at As to be able to implement this global strategy and expansion through our clubs, institutions, sportsmen and women and it's an absolute please to be able to share these stories with the rest of the world.