THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Match of Champions set to draw fans from around the world to Doha

Fans from around the world will converge in Doha tomorrow, when Qatar Airways brings together superstar football teams FC Barcelona and Al-Ahli Saudi FC to compete in the first ever Match of Champions, to win the Qatar Airways Cup. As the national carrier of the State of Qatar, Qatar Airways is proud to bring this mammoth match to Doha, the GCC’s ‘home of international football’.

The football giants, both sponsored by Qatar Airways, will play a friendly match in Al Gharafa Stadium on Tuesday, 13 December, 2016.

During a pre-match press conference, hosted by Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker and Vice President of the Organising Committee, His Excellency Mr. Hassan Al Thawadi, the stunning design of the Qatar Airways Cup trophy was revealed for the first time. Designed by a team from Qatar Airways, taking inspiration from the modern aircraft they fly, the Cup was handmade in Doha, cast in 18 carat gold. It is designed to reflect the global unity that sport inspires, and signifies the reward for teamwork, effort and determination.

Speaking at the press conference, H.E. Mr. Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways believes in sport as a source of inspiration and a symbol of international unity, as teams and their supporters come together from around the world to celebrate the determination and spirit that is required to win. We are exceptionally proud to not only support two iconic teams through our sponsorship of FC Barcelona and Al-Ahli Saudi FC, but to bring these two beloved teams together for what we are sure will be a phenomenal match – a Match of Champions, no less – with the worthy winner able to lay claim to the Qatar Airways Cup.

“Fans from around the world have chosen to fly to Doha with Qatar Airways to watch this iconic match. As the State of Qatar’s national carrier, it gives us a great sense of pride to give these international travellers their first taste of our well-known Qatari hospitality before they touch down in the country for this exciting event. This match would not have been possible without the expertise and dedication of the Qatar Football Association and we thank them warmly for their generous assistance.”

H.E. Mr. Al Thawadi said: “The enormity of this match is a testament to Qatar’s growing standing as the home of international football in the GCC, where the world’s greatest players are converging to bring world-class competitions to the region. It is also a significant marker in our journey towards 2022 when we will proudly host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“Through the Social Development pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030, our leadership aims to promote sport as a physical activity, particularly amongst the nation’s youth. By bringing such popular sporting heroes to their doorstep – such as the legendary players of FC Barcelona and Al-Ahli Saudi FC – we are enabling sports fans to live their football dreams, and are inspiring them to follow in the footsteps of their favourite players. For this, I would like to thank Qatar Airways for their continued support in not only facilitating global-level events such as these, but for contributing to the well-being and social development of the State of Qatar.”

Tickets for the match sold out within hours of release, with purchases made from around the world, with a full capacity stadium of 18,000 people set to attend the match. Football fans from as far-flung as Thailand and Singapore will fly into Doha especially for this premium match, truly cementing Qatar’s position as a leader in sporting entertainment.

(Qatar Airways Press Release)