By Claire Valdini
Qatari FA denies it will launch big money rival to Europe's Champions League
Qatar has denied claims that it is planning to launch a summer football league featuring some of the world’s top football clubs.
A report by London's The Times on Wednesday claimed that the gas-rich Gulf state would launch the ‘Dream Football League’ (DFL), which would see some of Europe’s leading clubs paid as much as US$261m on a two-year basis.
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.
Qatar's Football Association on Thursday refuted the claims. “The Qatar Football Association and other Qatari football entities can categorically confirm that we have no involvement in any such initiative and has heard nothing to suggest such a concept is genuine,” it said in a statement.
Qatar 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.
The Gulf state 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.