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)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan during the Dubai Challenge Cup match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and AC Milan at Al-Rashid (Getty Images)

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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Posted by: Paul King

This is nonsense! This year's Dubai Desert Classic revealed that when the budget is not available to attract top sportsman, there is very little desire to travel to this region to participate in sport events. The Middle East should concentrate on it's attraction as a winter training venue and hosting events for retiring sports stars.

Posted by: procan

Qatari....You could not handle a free market you got nothing to market , Gas and Oil we have our own. With out your considerable cash, Qatar slips back to the 11th century.

Posted by: Qatari

Same people who demand a freemarket. You guys are funny, maybe we should buy some of you for entertainment.

Posted by: Mohammed

You cant buy everything for money but you certainly can have a good go at it. There is too much critiscm of Qatar, they punch well above their wieght and they are actively pursuing their goals, whether they be international property investment, news channels, regional power or sporting events, or buying up international assets, who says money cant buy you everything!
Who in their right mind would have imagined that the World Cup would be hosted by an Arab country, they did it, whether they paid people off or won it on merit, the fact remains that they have it, I'm sure they will throw money, people, celebrities etc at it and it will be like every other World cup, and the lasting legacy will be that a tiny arab state hosted the world cup. Whether you like it or not you have to admire them.

Posted by: Ali

If Qatar has the money, will and desire to do it, why not?

Posted by: Anna

This story was made up by journalists - it has been denied by officials. Seems like reporters love to dream and fabricate stories when money and power gets involved.

Posted by: greg

the times has been fooled , ckeck twitter with #dfl
the hoax comes from a frech website called "les cahiers du football" and it went viral

Posted by: The Avenger

When they've ruined and bought and discarded everyhing of interest then they'll realise that you can't eat 500 Riyal notes....

Posted by: Qatari

Said the poor guy.

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