Qatar Stars League

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Qatar Stars League
Qatar Stars League.png
Founded1963; 57 years ago (1963)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toQatari Second Division
Domestic cup(s)Emir Cup
Crown Prince Cup
Sheikh Jassem Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
GCC Champions League
Current championsAl-Sadd (14th title)
Most championshipsAl-Sadd (14 titles)
TV partnersbeIN Sports, Al Kass Sports
2019–20 Qatar Stars League

The Qatar Stars League (Arabic: دوري نجوم قطر‎), formerly known as the Q-League, also known as Qatar Premier League (QPL), is the highest professional league in Qatari football, with the next tier being the Qatargas League. The league's first season was played in 1963, although the first official season occurred in 1972. The club which has won the maximum cumulative championships is Al Sadd SC, with 14 titles, including the most recent league. The league currently features 14 clubs, with one club being demoted to make room for one club being promoted.

The Qatari league system provides 4 domestic cups that these clubs are able to participate in: the Emir of Qatar Cup, open to all teams in both the first and second divisions, the Qatar Crown Prince Cup a postseason tournament played by the top four first division teams, the Sheikh Jassem Cup, a prelude to the first division regular season, and the Qatari Stars Cup, a round-robin tournament played midseason. The league title has been won by 8 clubs since its inception.

League structure[edit]

There are 2 divisions in the Qatari football structure and the league has previously seen one club promoted and relegated each year except in expansion seasons. The Qatar Stars League, previously known as the Q-League currently features 14 teams, with the 2nd division featuring 18 teams. The top four clubs at the end of the regular league system participate in the Qatar Crown Prince Cup, which was formed in the 1994/95 season.[1]

The Qatar Stars League has slowly expanded since the turn of the decade moving from 9 clubs to 10 clubs, and then latest setup of 12 clubs for the Qatari League 2009-10 campaign. It was announced that in the 2013-14 season, the number of clubs in the top division would increase to 14, whereas the second division would increase to 18 clubs which includes the reserve teams of the top division clubs.[2]

There are currently 4 official amateur football leagues in Qatar. Three amateur leagues are under the jurisdiction of the Qatar Community Football League (QCFL), established by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and the fourth, known as the Qatar Amateur League (QAL) is recognized by the QFA. Inaugurated in November 2013,[3] the QAL has 14 teams, all of which were established through the country's government, political and social sectors.[4]

It was announced on 15 April 2009 that no clubs would be relegated from the top flight in the 2008–09 Qatar Stars League season, due to expansion reasons, however the announcement was made with only one game remaining.[5] That year, the top league expanded to 12 clubs. In May 2013, the QFA again expanded the league by two more teams, bringing the total number of clubs in the first division to 14.[6]


The first unofficial season of the Qatar Stars League was the 1963–64 season, 3 years after the formation of the QFA. Similarly, a second division was also created during this time. For many years, there was no promotion or relegation system.[7]

In 1972–73, the first official season was played.[8] Al Estaqlal, now known as Qatar SC, won the first championship.

The first time there was a playoff for the championship was in 1980, between Al Sadd and Al Arabi. Al Sadd won the match 1–0.[7]

Although a second division had been in place for some time, there was no relegation or promotion system. However, in 1981, such a system was put in place for the first time. Five clubs participated in the second division that year.[7]

In 1984–85, there was no relegation or promotion due to the participation of a majority of the Qatari players within the national team, who were then preparing for the qualification rounds of the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[7]

In 1994, for one season, the QFA launched a new system where matches ending in draws would end in a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner. This was put in place in an effort to improve attendance.[7]

Three second division clubs were dissolved in the 1990 season: Al Nasr, Al Tadamon, and Al Nahda. Many of their players were distributed to first division clubs and became prominent players in Qatari football history, such as Fahad Al Kuwari, Ahmed Al Kuwari and Hamad Al Khalifa. After the dissolution of these clubs, there was no longer any relegation or promotion for five years. In 1995/96, the second division was brought back with five clubs, while there ten clubs participating in the first division.[7]

Another method the QFA attempted to develop the league was allocating each Q-League club with a sum of $10,000,000 to buy big-name foreign players in order to increase popularity in 2003. It succeeded, and players such as Ronald and Frank de Boer, Pep Guardiola, and Gabriel Batistuta soon appeared in the league.[9]

In addition, in 2004, the Aspire Academy was formed, which provides world-class training facilities to young people in order to not only improve the footballing standard in Qatar, but internationally. Many notable players have graduated from the academy, including Abdelkarim Hassan, Saad Al Sheeb, and Ibrahim Majid.[10]

In 2009, no clubs were relegated from the top division. Due to the recent formation of Lekhwiya and El Jaish, this meant that the second division would lose two clubs while two more clubs would enter the first division, bringing the total number of clubs in the first division to 12, and the second division to 6.[5] As part of the expansion campaign, the "Q-League" changed its name to what it is currently known as, "Qatar Stars League",[11] and inaugurated a new domestic cup, the "Qatari Stars Cup".[12]

Qatar Stars League member clubs[edit]

Table as of 2019–20 Season:

Qatar Stars League
Club Location Stadium Year Formed
Al Ahli Doha Doha Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium 1950
Al-Arabi Doha Grand Hamad Stadium 1952
Al-Duhail Doha Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium 2009
Al Gharafa Al Rayyan Thani bin Jassim Stadium 1979
Al-Khor Al Khor City, Al Khor Al-Khawr Stadium 1961
Al Rayyan Al Rayyan Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium 1967
Al Sadd Al Sadd Khalifa International Stadium 1969
Al Sailiya Doha Ahmed bin Ali Stadium 1995
Al-Shahania Al-Shahaniya Grand Hamad Stadium 1998
Al-Wakrah Al Wakrah Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium 1959
Qatar SC Al Dafna, Doha Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium 1959
Umm Salal Umm Salal Thani bin Jassim Stadium 1979

Championship history[edit]

The champions are:[13]

Most successful clubs[edit]

Al Sadd are the most successful team in the league
# Club Champions
1 Al-Sadd SC 14
2 Qatar SC 8
3 Al-Rayyan SC 8
4 Al-Gharafa SC 7
5 Al-Arabi SC 7
6 Al-Duhail SC 6
7 Al-Maref 3
8 Al-Wakrah SC 2

Total titles won by region[edit]

Region Number of titles Clubs
Al-Sadd SC (14), Qatar SC (8), Al-Arabi SC (7), Lekhwiya SC (6), Al Maref (3)
Al Rayyan
Al-Rayyan SC (8), Al-Gharafa SC (7)
Al Wakrah
Al-Wakrah SC (2)
Al Khor
Al Shamal
Umm Salal

Post-season awards[edit]

An award system was developed in 2006 in which the best player and coach of the footballing season are selected by a panel of journalists. Each award winner receives $100,000.[22][23] There are also awards for youth players and club staff.

Year Player of the Year Club Manager of the Year Club
2006[22] Qatar Sebastián Soria Al Gharafa Uruguay Jorge Fossati Al Sadd
2007[22] Qatar Emerson Sheik Al Sadd Uruguay Jorge Fossati Al Sadd
2008[22] Morocco Aziz Ben Askar Umm Salal Brazil Marcos Paquetá Al Gharafa
2009[22] Argentina Leonardo Pisculichi Al Arabi Brazil Sebastião Lazaroni Qatar SC
2010[22] Brazil Juninho Pernambucano Al Gharafa Brazil Caio Júnior Al Gharafa
2011[22] Ivory Coast Bakari Koné Lekhwiya Qatar Abdullah Mubarak Al Ahli
2012[24] Brazil Rodrigo Tabata Al-Rayyan Uruguay Diego Aguirre Al-Rayyan
2013[25] Qatar Khalfan Ibrahim Al Sadd Morocco Hussein Amotta Al Sadd
2014 Algeria Nadir Belhadj Al Sadd Tunisia Sami Trabelsi Al-Sailiya SC
2015 Qatar Hassan Al-Haydos Al Sadd Denmark Michael Laudrup Lekhwiya SC
2016 Qatar Rodrigo Tabata Al-Rayyan Uruguay Jorge Fossati Al-Rayyan
2017 South Korea Nam Tae-hee Lekhwiya Portugal Jesualdo Ferreira Al Sadd
2018 Tunisia Youssef Msakni Al-Duhail SC Algeria Djamel Belmadi Al-Duhail SC
2019 Qatar Akram Afif Al Sadd Portugal Jesualdo Ferreira Al Sadd

Top goalscorers[edit]


Year Best scorers Team Goals
1972–73 Qatar Awodh Hassan Al-Esteqlal 10
1973–74 unknown
1974–75 Not held
1975–76 Qatar Lebanon Jamal Al Khatib Al-Esteqlal 8
1976–77 unknown
1977–78 unknown
1978–79 Qatar Hassan Mattar Al-Sadd SC 11
1979–80 Qatar
Hamdan Hamed
Badr Bilal
Sharif Abdul-Hamed
Al Ahli SC
Al-Sadd SC
Qatar SC
1980–81 Qatar Hassan Mattar Al-Sadd SC 9
1981–82 Qatar Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 19
1982–83 Qatar Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 10
1983–84 Qatar Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 7
1984–85 Qatar Ahmed Yaqoub Al-Arabi SC 7
1985–86 Qatar Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 20
1986–87 Qatar Hassan Sabela Al Ahli SC 9
1987–88 Qatar Hassan Jowhar Al-Sadd SC 11
1988–89 Iran Farshad Pious Al Ahli SC 9
1989–90 Brazil Marco Antônio Al-Arabi SC 10
1990–91 QatarQatar


Mahmoud Soufi

Adel Khamis

Hassan Sabela



Al Ahli SC

1991–92 QatarAlgeria Mubarak Mustafa

Rabeh Madjer

Al Arabi SC

Qatar SC

1992–93 Qatar Mubarak Mustafa Al Arabi SC 9
1993–94 Iraq Ahmed Radhi Al-Wakrah SC 16
1994–95 Qatar Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi Al-Rayyan SC 9
1995–96 Nigeria Ricky Owubokiri Al-Arabi SC 16
1996–97 QatarSenegal Mubarak Mustafa

Alboury Lah

Al-Arabi SC

Al Ahli SC

1997–98 MoroccoSenegal


Hussein Amotta

Alboury Lah

Cláudio Mendes Prates

Al-Sadd SC

Al Ahli SC

Al-Arabi SC

1998–99 Angola Fabrice Akwa Al-Wakrah SC 11
1999–2000 Qatar Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi Al-Rayyan SC 14
2000–01 Senegal Mamoun Diop Al-Wakrah SC 14
2001–02 Algeria Rachid Amrane Al-Ittihad 16
2002–03 Morocco Rachid Rokki Al-Khor SC 15
2003–04 Argentina Gabriel Batistuta Al-Arabi SC 25
2004–05 Brazil Sonny Anderson Al-Rayyan SC 20
2005–06 Ecuador Carlos Tenorio Al-Sadd SC 21
2006–07 Iraq Younis Mahmoud Al-Gharafa SC 24
2007–08 Brazil Clemerson de Araújo Al-Gharafa SC 27
2008–09 Brazil Magno Alves Umm Salal SC 25
2009–10 Brazil
Younis Mahmoud
Al-Arabi SC
Al-Gharafa SC
2010–11 Iraq Younis Mahmoud Al-Gharafa SC 15
2011–12 Brazil Adriano El Jaish SC 18
2012–13 Qatar Sebastián Soria Lekhwiya SC 19
2013–14 Democratic Republic of the Congo Dioko Kaluyituka Al Ahli SC 22
2014–15 Democratic Republic of the Congo Dioko Kaluyituka Al Ahli SC 25
2015–16 Morocco
Abderrazak Hamdallah
Rodrigo Tabata
El Jaish SC
Al Rayyan
2016–17 Algeria
Baghdad Bounedjah
Youssef El-Arabi
2017–2018 Morocco Youssef El-Arabi Al-Duhail SC 26
2018–2019 Algeria Baghdad Bounedjah Al-Sadd SC 39

By player[edit]

Rank Player Country Titles Seasons
1 Mansoor Muftah  Qatar 4 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86
2 Mubarak Mustafa  Qatar 3 1991–92, 1992–93, 1996–97
2 Younis Mahmoud  Iraq 3 2006–07, 2009–10, 2010–11
4 Baghdad Bounedjah  Algeria 2 2016–17, 2018–19
4 Hassan Sabela  Qatar 2 1986–87, 1990–91
4 Alboury Lah  Senegal 2 1996–97, 1997–98
4 Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi  Qatar 2 1994–95, 1999–2000
4 Dioko Kaluyituka  Democratic Republic of the Congo 2 2013–14, 2014–15
4 Youssef El-Arabi  Morocco 2 2016–17, 2017–18

By country[edit]

Country Players Total
 Qatar 23 14
 Brazil 7 7
 Morocco 5 4
 Algeria 3 4
 Senegal 3 2
 Iraq 3 1
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 2 1
 Iran 1 1
 Argentina 1 1
 Egypt 1 1
 Lebanon 1 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Heir Apparent Cup finals" (in Arabic). Al Kass. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  2. ^ "QSL confirms expansion move". Doha Stadium Plus. 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Qatar Amateur League". Qatar Stars League. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Amateur League kick-off on Nov 11". Doha Stadium Plus. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Qatar Stars League (QSL)". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  6. ^ "QSL expands to 14 teams". Qatar Sports Today. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f دوري نجوم قطر. (in Arabic). Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. ^ "« عن الريان « تاريخ النادي" (in Arabic). Al Rayyan Club. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Football in Qatar". Qatar Visitor. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Champ magazine, issue 7". Aspire Academy. December 2014. p. 9. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  11. ^ Matthias Krug (29 August 2009). "An Asian armada sets sail for Europe". ESPN FC. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  12. ^ "QNB The Exclusive Partner of QATAR STARS CUP". QNB. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Qatar — List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Al Sailiya SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Al Gharafa SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Al Kharaitiyath SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Umm-Salal SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Al Markhiya SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Al Mesaimeer SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Al Shahaniya SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Al Mu'aidar SC". Welt Fussbal Archiv. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "QFA to name Player of the Year on Sunday". Qatar Football Association. Archived from the original on 17 May 2012.
  23. ^ QFA announce $100,000 for best player Doha Press.
  24. ^ "Tabata & Aguirre named season heroes". Qatar Stars League. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  25. ^ "Sadd's Khalfan, Raul, Amotta shine at QFA awards gala". Gulf Times. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Qatar - List of Topscorers". Retrieved 11 August 2015.

External links[edit]