Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash is planning a Nines tournament in Dubai, as part of his plans to make rugby league a truly global sport.
Koukash reckons the sporting potential of Dubai has been shown by the enthusiastic crowds who turned up for rugby union sevens there recently.
“I’ve started talking to people about the possibility of having a nines competition here in Dubai,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“This is a sporting country. When they had the sevens here over three days there were 180,000 people.
“We’re talking something similar to the Auckland nines here. You could keep that one in Auckland and one here with Super League and NRL clubs. That’s more international. I see the nines as a way of globalising the sport.
“We used to have five-day Test cricket and then we had the 50-over game and the shorter form to help popularise the sport overall. I see this similarly, The nines can help globalise the sport.”
“At the end of the day, every marathon starts with a step. Rugby league, I’ve always said it, is one of the most exciting sports in the world. Some people might say I’m biased but it’s much more exciting to watch than rugby union. We just need to believe in that, in what we’re doing.”
Reports continue to surface that Koukash is going to try and buy NRL outfit Newcastle Knights. He insists that he feels at home in Australia, and that his motives are to make rugby league as successful as possible.
“Whatever club I run – and I’m not saying it’s Newcastle – it’s not all about [money],” he said.
“You can see in my involvement with Salford, it’s the passion I have. I’m not a boardroom owner, I’m a fans’ owner.
“I am different to your typical owner. I’m not in the directors’ box, I will be on the terraces with the fans jumping up and down.”
“Some people say I’m more Australian than Australians. I love it, that way of life suits me very well.
“I’ll probably be working towards moving to Australia and I couldn’t see myself without being involved in racing and rugby league. These are my two passions now.
“I’m genuine, I’m not a bullshitter. It’s early stages [in discussions with NRL clubs] and hopefully progress can be made over the next two to three weeks.
“For me it would be a dream come true to be involved. If it’s not 100 per cent ownership, then part ownership. I love my rugby league.”