Qatar Football Association

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Qatar Football Association
Qatar Football Association logo.svg
HeadquartersDoha, Qatar
FIFA affiliation1972
AFC affiliation1974[1]
PresidentSheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Thani

The Qatar Football Association (Arabic: الاتحاد القطري لكرة القدم) is the governing body of football in Qatar.


Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Thani is currently the president of the Association.[2]


The advent of football at Qatar dates back to the year of 1948, accompanied by the arrival of oil companies.[3] The new game's popularity expanded immediately, which led to the establishment of Al Najah as the country's first football club in 1950.[4] Interest in football developed rapidly in the 1950s. Under the supervision of Qatar Oil Company, the first football tournament ever in Qatar was held at the city of Dukhan. Despite the participation of several Doha teams – including Al Najah – host team Dukhan managed to win the 1951 Izzadeen tournament.[5] Qatar Oil Company replaced the old competition with a new one, Pukett Cup kicked off during the 1957 season, Al Najah went on to win the cup for the first time in their history.[5] The Qatar Football Association (QFA) was founded in 1960 to govern football in Qatar and became a member of FIFA in 1963.[6][7] The Association organized the first Qatar League in 1972–73.[8]

Whether locally or regionally, rules and regulations were not very restrictive about players moving from one club to another, just a resignation letter and 10 Indian rupees were required of the player who wished to move. This undemanding system was in effect until the year 1962. The first venue with a grass pitch in the Gulf region was the Doha Stadium, which was inaugurated in 1962.[9] Qatar built the Khalifa International Stadium in the 1970s to serve as the country's iconic sports stadium. From 2003 to 2017, the stadium was refurbished and expanded. The Emir Cup final was held there in 2017. In 2022 it will host World Cup matches.[10]

In 1981, Qatar's national youth team took part in the Fifa Junior World Cup in Australia, surprisingly beating Brazil 4–3 in the quarterfinals and England 2–1 in the semifinals. The final was lost 0–4 against West Germany.[11]

Qatar's football team participated in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.[12]

In 1988 and 2011, Qatar hosted the AFC Asian Cup, which is the biggest football event on the continent.[13][14]

Qatar hosted the Gulf Cup tournament in 1976, 1992 and 2004, winning the biggest tournament for national teams in the region in 1992 and 2004. In 2014, Qatar lifted the trophy for the third time after beating host Saudi Arabia in the final.[15]

From April 13–28, 1995, the 10th FIFA World Youth Championship was held in Doha, which was won by Argentina.[16]

From November 30 to December 18, 2021, Qatar hosted the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Sixteen Arab teams competed in stadiums of the 2022 Fifa World Cup.[17][18]


Qatar Stars League (Also known as QNB Stars League)[edit]

  • The QSL is the highest football league in Qatar and consists of 12 teams.

Qatar Second Division (Also known as Qatargas League)[edit]

  • The QSD is the second highest football league in Qatar and consists of 8 teams.

Qatar Amateur League[edit]

  • The QAL was established in 2013 to provide amateur teams with the opportunity to compete against each other in an official competition. The number of participating team varies every year.[19]

University League[edit]

  • The University League is a knockout tournament which was established in 2013 by the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy. This gives university and college students the opportunity to develop their football skills.[20]

School League[edit]

  • The School League is a knockout tournament which was also established in 2013, with the aim to promote young people's interest in sports.[21]

Asian Communities Football Tournament[edit]

  • The league was established in 2012 to promote integration and involve the local community. It is played in a knockout system.[22]

Qatar Community Football League[edit]

  • The community league organized by QSL, with four adult divisions, two leagues for boys and two leagues for girls, was established by the supreme committee in 2016.[23]

Qatar Futsal League[edit]

Domestic competitions[edit]


  • Emir Cup - The Emir Cup was founded in 1972 and is the biggest Tournament in Qatar.[24]
  • Sheikh Jassim Cup - The Sheikh Jassim Cup was founded in 1977 and takes place every year at the beginning of the season.[25]
  • Qatar Cup - The Qatar Cup was founded in 1994 and is played by the top four QSL teams at the end of each season.[26]
  • Ooredoo Cup - The Ooredoo Cup was founded in 2009. The premier league teams play in a knockout competition. Teams are divided into two groups and are allowed to field both U19 and U23 players.[27]

Defunct competitions[edit]

Reserve League (Qatar)

National teams[edit]

Training camps and academy[edit]

Aspire Zone - The Aspire Zone in Doha, Qatar, is a popular training camp for European football clubs, where teams such as Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven, FC Red Bull Salzburg, AFC Ajax and FC Zenit prepare for the upcoming matches in their leagues.[28]

Aspire Academy - Located in the Aspire Zone, the sports academy was founded in 2004 and supports Qatari athletes.[29]

Training grounds for the 2022 FIFA World Cup - As 41 training grounds are created, each national team will have its own facility with FIFA-standard lightning systems and two natural grass pitches identical to the grass pitches at each of the eight World Cup stadiums.[30]


Name Position Source
Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Thani President [31][32]
Qatar Saoud Al-Mohannadi Vice President [31][32]
Qatar Mansoor Al Ansari General Secretary [31][32]
Qatar Ahmed Al-Buainain Treasurer [31]
Qatar Fahad Al Zarraa Technical Director [31]
Spain Félix Sánchez Team Coach (Men's) [31][32]
n/a Team Coach (Women's)
Qatar Ali Al Salat Media/Communications Manager [31]
Qatar Hamad Al Mannai Futsal Coordinator [31]
Qatar Hany Taleb Al Raeesi Referee Coordinator [31]

Controversies surrounding leadership[edit]

Former president of the Qatar Football Association, Abd Al-Rahman al-Nuaimi, has been linked to various terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and Asbat an-Ansar.[33][34] In 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury labeled the former head of the Qatar Football Association as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) for his role in transferring funds from Qatar-based donors to al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab. The U.S. Department of the Treasury accused al-Nuaimi of overseeing the transfer of over $2 million per month to al-Qaeda in Iraq "for a period of time."

Al-Nuaimi's replacement and the current president of the Qatar Football Association, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Than, has also been linked to terrorist organizations. In April 2013, Sheikh Hamad, who has no official title other than President of the Qatar Football Association, reportedly met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to discuss "Qatar-Hamas relations."[35] Ismail Haniyeh has been a proponent of armed conflicts against Israel, including civilian targets, and referred to Osama bin Laden as "an Arab holy warrior."[36][37]

Mohammed bin Hammam, Chairman of the Qatar Football Association from February 1992 to 1996, has also been involved in a string of controversies. On July 23, 2011, the FIFA Ethics Committee banned Bin Hammam for life from all FIFA and football related activities after being found guilty of bribery.[38] Although the ban was annulled a year later, Bin Hamman was given a second ban in December 2012 for “conflicts of interest” that arose while he was president of the Asian Football Confederation.[39][40]

On 6 September 2016, FIFA Ethics Committee's adjudicatory chamber opened proceedings against Qatar Football Association's Vice-president Saoud Al-Mohannadi.[41] Al-Mohannadi was banned from running in elections for a seat in the FIFA Council later that month.[42] On 16 November 2016, FIFA Ethics Committee banned Al Mohannadi for one year and fined him 20,000 Swiss Francs because he "did not co-operate with the investigatory chamber in the proceedings against a third party".[43]

Additional controversies[edit]

The Qatar Football Association has been criticized for hiring migrant workers to fill their empty stadiums in the Qatar Stars League, paying them one dollar an hour.[44] The spread of paid fans was cited as a “significant reason” for low attendance rates among Qatari residents. According to a recent survey, only one third of the 1,079 Qatar residents surveyed had attended a football match during the previous season.[45] The results of the survey, published by Qatar's Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics cast doubts of claims that everything in Qatar “revolves around sport.”[46]

The Qatari national team has also been known to field naturalized players from foreign nations.[47][48] Examples include Sebastián Soria and Luiz Martin Carlos Júnior. In 2004, the Qatar FA offered incentives to the uncapped Brazilian trio of Aílton, Dedé and Leandro to switch allegiance to the Gulf state. FIFA intervened and blocked the moves, tightening international eligibility requirements in the process.[49][50]

International titles[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AFC BARS ISRAEL FROM ALL ITS COMPETITIONS". The Straits Times. Reuters. 16 September 1974.
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". Qatar Football Association. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  3. ^ "Football". Archived from the original on 2015-02-06. Retrieved 2021-09-24.
  4. ^ "The Beginning". 2020-11-05. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  5. ^ a b "Qatar - List of Cup Winners". 2020-12-23. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  6. ^ "Qatar Football Association". 2020-11-16. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  7. ^ "Football History in Qatar". Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  8. ^ "Qatar Stars League History, Structure and Total Teams". 2019-09-17. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  9. ^ "2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar a rising football power". 2020-08-05. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  10. ^ "Khalifa Stadium Renovation". Retrieved 2021-06-18.
  11. ^ "FIFA World Youth Championship for the Coca-Cola Cup" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  12. ^ "Participations by edition". Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  13. ^ "Asian Cup 1988 Qatar". Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  14. ^ "Qatar awarded 2011 Asian Cup hosting rights". 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  15. ^ "Saudi Team". Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  16. ^ "FIFA World Youth Championship Qatar 1995". Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved 2021-06-25.
  17. ^ "Bringing together the best talent from across the region". Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  18. ^ "Qatar prepares for Arab Cup". 2021-11-14. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  19. ^ "Qatar Amateur League". Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  20. ^ "University League". Retrieved 2021-08-06.
  21. ^ "School League". Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  22. ^ "Asian Communities Football Tournament kicks off today". 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  23. ^ "Qatar Community Football League". Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  24. ^ "Emir Cup has brought great glamour to football in Qatar: AAB official". 2017-05-14. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  25. ^ "Sheikh Jassim Cup History". 2017-11-21. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  26. ^ "Qatar Cup". Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  27. ^ "The Qatari Game - Domestic Leagues and Cup Competitions". 2001-03-22. Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  28. ^ "Bayern Munich arrive for Doha training camp". 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2021-06-30.
  29. ^ "Former Socceroo Tim Cahill lands 'exciting' new job in Qatar". Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  30. ^ "5 facts about the training camps earmarked for the 2022 World Cup". 2021-01-10. Retrieved 2021-08-26.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Member Association - Qatar -". Archived from the original on January 18, 2021. Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  32. ^ a b c d "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  33. ^ Spencer, By David Blair and Richard. "Former head of human rights charity accused of leading double life as terrorist fundraiser". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  34. ^ "Treasury Designates Al-Qa'ida Supporters in Qatar and Yemen". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  35. ^ "FIFA Has a Terrorism Problem". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  36. ^ "Ismail Haniyeh - Haaretz". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  37. ^ "Abbas government welcomes bin Laden death, Hamas deplores". Reuters. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  38. ^ "Bin Hammam handed lifetime ban from football". 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  39. ^ "Mohamed Bin Hammam wins appeal against Fifa ban". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  40. ^ "Fifa ban Mohammed Bin Hammam for life after he quits football". BBC. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  41. ^ "Football: Fifa opens proceedings against Qatar official Saoud al-Mohannadi". The Straits Times. 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  42. ^ "FIFA bans Qatari official Al-Mohannadi from Asian vote". The Times of India. 2016-09-26. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  43. ^ "FIFA ethics judges impose 1-year ban on Qatari election candidate". CBC Sports. 2016-11-16. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  44. ^ "Qatar hires migrant workers as 'fake sports fans' to fill up empty arenas". 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  45. ^ "In Qatar, migrant workers paid to be sports 'fans'". USA Today. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  46. ^ "Migrant workers in Qatar are being paid to be pretend sports 'fans'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  47. ^ "The Best Eleven: Qatar National Team - Naturalized Players". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  48. ^ Graham Ruthven. "Naturalization undermines international soccer". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  49. ^ "Fifa rules on eligibility". BBC Sport. 18 March 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  50. ^ "Players seeking naturalisation with no clear connection to country ineligible to represent national teams". FIFA. 17 March 2004. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.

External links[edit]