Lucy Bronze and Amandine Henry to discuss women's football at 14th Dubai International Sports Conference
The duo will be joined by history-making referee Stephanie Frappart and Italian “Sheroe” Sara Gama as the ladies make their first appearance at DISC.
Lucy Bronze, UEFA Women's Player of the Year for 2019, and Amandine Henry - two of the biggest stars of women’s football, will be the lead acts as the ladies make their first appearance at the Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC), the world’s premium annual football forum where the sport’s top stakeholders assemble for extensive discussions about the future of the Beautiful Game.
Being staged for the 14th time, the Dubai International Sports Conference is a Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative and has been organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, since 2006.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council, this year’s Conference is taking place under the theme, “Future Football Accelerators” at Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre’s Joharah Ballroom on 28 December – a day before the glittering Dubai Globe Soccer Awards – and Bronze and Henry will lead discussions in the second session of the day titled, “Empowering Women in Football”, alongside history-making official Stéphanie Frappart and Italy’s Sara Gama.
Manchester United and Ajax legend Edwin van der Sar will headline the opening session titled, “English Football Back to the Top”, alongside former England manager Fabio Capello and Ferran Soriano, chief executive of Manchester City Football Club and its parent company City Football Group.
Winner of 11 league and five UEFA Women’s Champions League titles with French club Lyon, Amandine Henry, 30, started playing football at the age of 5. But with no girls’ team for that age group, she had to play alongside the boys until the age of 13, and those early years can perhaps explain Henry’s intensity and physicality on the pitch.
A defensive midfielder, Henry, who is captain of the France national women’s football team, sets the tempo for her team and is equally adept at regaining possession and orchestrating attacks, or breaking up play with crunching tackles.
Lucy Bronze, who now plays alongside Henry in Lyon after spells at Sunderland, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City, has been one of the biggest stars of English women’s football, playing a starring role in the Englishwomen’s third-place finish at the 2015 World Cup as well as the 2019 World Cup, where they finished fourth.
Regarded as one of the greatest right-backs ever in women’s football, Bronze, 28, has won the PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year award twice and earlier this year, she became the first English football player to win the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award.
Stéphanie Frappart, 36, entered the history books earlier this year in August as the first woman to referee a major men’s European match when the Frenchwoman took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul.
Frappart received praise from TV pundits and fans alike for her measured performance in the final alongside her all-female crew of assistant referees, Italy’s Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O'Neill of Ireland.
“I think she’s had a great game – she’s been brilliant in what’s been a difficult game,” former England and Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole told BT Sport. “She’s been excellent and let the game flow and got most of the big decisions right. She’s handled it fantastically well.”
Sara Gama, meanwhile, is captain of Italy’s national women’s football team and plays as a defender for Italian club Juventus, where she has won two league championships (2018, 2019) and a Coppa Italia (2019).
In 2018, toymaker Mattel dedicated a Barbie doll to Gama as a part of their Sheroes series, and she is the only Italian to be recognized by the international toy brand.
The session will be moderated by Singapore-based sports journalist Ash Hashim, who is better known as “The Female Football Voice”. Hashim’s journalistic stints includes being a special correspondent with Yahoo! Southeast Asia. She writes about football as ‘Futbolita’ for Yahoo! Sports and gives readers an insight into the football clubs they support with exclusive player-interviews.