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Blanket Ban on Sport in Dubai and Sharjah To Fight Back Against Coronavirus Covid-19 REVERSED

Blanket Ban on Sport in Dubai and Sharjah To Fight Back Against Coronavirus Covid-19 REVERSED

by Jon WestleyMarch 5, 2020

The Dubai Sports Council has today reversed its original plan to impose a blanket ban on sporting events. In a swift u-turn, It has now been confirmed by Dubai Sports Council that all sporting events can proceed except those with international participation. As it stands now, sporting activities with international participation must now be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Council to decide whether they can proceed or should be cancelled.

The reversal has caused chaos and confusion with some sporting clubs enjoyed by children having advised employees and parents already that they were no longer operating.

The Dubai Sports Council had originally escalated its response to the Coronavirus Covid-19 crisis by imposing a blanket ban on Sport across Dubai:

A related ban, which at this stage does not cover federation activities, has now been also issued by the Sharjah Sports Council.

The ban had covered all events and activities including club activities, ECAs and events which engage children and young people in sport as well as major sporting events. The ban had been set to last until at least 31 March 2020 at which point it would have been reviewed.

The ban on sport came at a time the UAE has been fast implementing a very different, highly interventionist approach to the Coronavirus Covid-19 approach to other countries at this stage of the spread of the virus. The UAE has been placing its primary focus on public safety and ratcheting up attempts to contain the virus, even if that means widespread bans on activities that involve groups of people. Protecting children has been at the centre of actions so far. That approach has so far won near universal praise from parents who want the government to place the safety of their children and families first over broader economic issues. Strong intervention now would increase public safety and increase the chance of the emirates containing the spread of the virus, but strong intervention also has knock on financial impacts on business and tourism. The balancing act is a difficult one.


Multiple clarification from Sports organisations across the UAE cancelling all club sport and practice sessions involving children as well as adult related sporting fixtures and friendlies were received by us following the original ban:

Blanket Ban on Sport Across UAE Dubai, Abu Dhabi Sharjahh

UAE Football Association Bans Sport to fight Coronavirus Covid 19 in Dubai Abu Dhabi

UAE Rugby Federation Bans Sport to Fight Back against Coronavirus Covid 19


However, in a new statement, the Dubai Sports Council has rolled back its demand for a ban and confirmed that “normal sporting activities should proceed as normal”:


Ban on Sport in Dubai reversed


A number of clubs have informed that they are still deciding whether to unilaterally now self impose a ban given the worries of parents and the recent decision to close schools.

One club told us:

“We do not want to, or be seen to be doing something which could, add to the risks of children becoming infected.”

For parents worried about Coronavirus and their children playing sport, they are advised to initially to contact the club, provider or organiser of the sporting event their child is involved with for clarification. Alternatively they can contact in Dubai for urgent advice and guidance.

The decision, within the space of a few hours, to reverse the blanket ban on sport indicates just how complex the task is facing government with competing demands to protect the public, protect the economy and avoid panic.

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA today reassured and addressed families, pupils, teachers and all members of the educational community:

“The safety of everyone in our educational community has always been our first priority.

“You are not alone.

We are all in this together.

In Dubai we have a community – a community of schools, universities, parents, teachers and students who will come together, support each other and care for each other.

I have seen for myself the love, the compassion, that our community has for each other.

I have no doubt that we will all come through this and our community will be even stronger.”


Backgrounder – Key facts Today at a Glance and What to Do if you Believe that You or Your Children are Infected

Help for Parents with Coronavirus Covid 19 with FAQ and status update

As of 3 March 2020, the World Health Organisation calculated that the Coronavirus Covid-19 virus has an average 3.4% fatality rate making it 30 times more deadly than the flu virus. The flu virus kills between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally. The earliest estimation for global availability of a vaccine is projected to be September 2021.

Infection rates vary in countries between 1% and 6% depending on multiple factors including the age of the population.

The UAE government has so far been successful in containing the virus to just 27 cases as of 05 March 2020.

As of 07 March 2020, there are two confirmed cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 in UAE schools.

Worldwide, 3,310 people have died so far from the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak as of March 05, 2020, 15:44 GMT.

There are currently 96,950 confirmed cases in 87 countries and territories

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports that:

“There have been very few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions.

Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19.”

Positively, the World Heath Organisation states:

“We are [only] eight weeks into this Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak: yet we have identified the virus, we have the genetic sequence, PCR & serological assay in use. This wealth of knowledge is unprecedented for a new disease.”

Currently there is no cure.

  • More on the UAE Government decision to close every school in the UAE to protect children can be found here.
  • More on the UAE government decision to close all nursery schools can be found here.
  • More on the UAE Government decision to ban school events can be found here.
  • More on the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Covid 19 in a UAE school at the Indian High School, Senior Campus can be found here.

The single major action parents and students can take to protect themselves is to wash their hands. Medical specialist face masks are not advised for adults and are illegal for use by children because they restrict airflow and could result in respiratory failure if used over a long period.

Current advice is for families not to travel by air unless it is absolutely unavoidable or an emergency.

A dedicated hotline has been set up to advise worried schools and parents on 06-7017000 and email at for issues that arise during the closure of schools and universities and the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.

To report suspected cases of Coronavirus Covid-19, parents are asked to call:

  • The Dubai Health Authority: 800 342
  • The Ministry of Health and Prevention: 800 11111.
  • The Department of Health Estijaba service: 800 1717

For parents in Abu Dhabi facing a crisis in looking after their children during the closure of nursery schools an emergency hotline is available on: +971 58 5886570.

This is a rapidly developing story. Decsions are subject to change. We will publish more information for parents live as we receive it.

If you have a ground-breaking story in UAE education, please mail the News Desk 24/7 at 

© 2020. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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