Real Madrid's $1bn UAE theme park 'falls through'

Simon Foster

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has confirmed what many in the UAE had already suspected: the club's ambitious Resort Island n project in Ras Al Khaimah has "fallen through".

Perez confirmed the news at a mini-assembly with Madrid's representative members on Thursday, although he has revealed the club, sponsored by Dubai airline Emirates, will look to push through with a similar venture in another Emirate.

Plans for the $1billion "Real Madrid Resort Island" project were first revealed in March 2012 (pictures here) and proposed to provide a marina, luxury hotels and villas, an amusement park, Real Madrid club museum and a futuristic 10,000-seat stadium with one side open to the sea.

The 430,000-square metre development off was expected to open in January 2015 with developers hopeful that the resort would attract up to one million visitors to the UAE in its first year.

However, problems over funding soon arose culminating in a source close to the project revealing in June that it was on hold "indefinitely".

Therefore, confirmation from Perez that the Ras Al-Khaimah project has now been officially scrapped is hardly surprising.

That said, it is still an embarrassement for Madrid who had enlisted the help of then boss Jose Mourinho and club icon Zinedine Zidane when revealing their grand plans for the project last year.

Perez had hoped the development would to bring the club closer to their 160 million fans in the Middle East and Asia.

“When 'Real Madrid Resort Island' opens its doors, the visitor will form part of the legend of the best club in football history,” said Perez last year.

“We are uniting our name with a unique setting in the world, a strategic meeting point and a project without precedent. Real Madrid and the government of Ras Al Khaimah want to transmit the passion and meaning of Real Madrid to everyone.

“The world of sport and Real Madrid are showing once again that borders do not exist and football is a fantastic tool to bring people together.”


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