Qatar to launch rival Champions League – report

Big-money ‘Dream Football League’could include world’s top clubs; matches could be held in UAE
Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan during the Dubai Challenge Cup match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and AC Milan at Al-Rashid (Getty Images)
By Ed Attwood
Wed 13 Mar 2013 09:06 AM

In its latest move to achieve sporting dominance, Qatar will launch the ‘Dream Football League’ (DFL) next month, featuring some of the world’s top football clubs, according to The Times.

The British newspaper said that the DFL, which is backed by the Qatari royal family, will be held every two years in Qatar and neighbouring Gulf states. The DFL would be a clear rival to existing competitions like FIFA’s Champions League.

Elite clubs such as Manchester United and Barcelona could be offered as much as US$261m on a two-year basis, the Times said, dwarfing receipts from the Champions League, where current champions Chelsea picked up US$70m in prize money last year.

The report suggested that 16 clubs could become ‘permanent members’ of the DFL, with a further eight clubs competing on an invitational basis.

The tournament, which The Times said could be held in Qatar and six cities across the Gulf – including those in the UAE – would be held in the summer, offering a way to test Qatar’s plans to provide air conditioned stadiums and facilities for fans.

The Gulf state is set to host the FIFA World Cup in the summer of 2022, and has faced criticism about the tournament being played in the hot summer months.

“These people have already shown that, if they want something to happen, they will throw enough money at it to make it happen,” one source close to the project told The Times. “And the football industry has shown that everything can be bought for the right price.”

Qatar is spending billions of dollars in upgrading its infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup. Apart from new stadiums, the country is also building a railway network, a metro line for the capital, Doha and upgrades for its roads and bridges. A new US$15.5bn airport, Hamad International Airport, will open next month.

Aside from the World Cup, Qatar has also invested heavily in Paris St Germain, the French Ligue 1 side. Currently top of the French League, the Gulf state has brought the likes of David Beckham, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris. 

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