Bad dream: Why the Qatari football league could have devastating consequences
Ed Malyon discusses why UEFA and FIFA may struggle to deal with Qatar's proposal for a megabucks summer football tournament
The Khalifa Stadium: Potential venue in Doha, Qatar
It is rare that you read a football story and feel your heart sink.
When your team loses it’s more of a fit of anger or a sighing inevitability, but on reading of Qatar’s plans for a Dream Football League, the emotion was something more. Something deeper.
The prospect of some sort of European Super League is nothing new.
For years fans and journalists have speculated about the possibility while clubs have used it’s spectre as a bargaining chip to lever Champions League expansion, but there has always been a sense that it would never happen. It couldn’t.
“Where would it fit in the schedule?” “Who would play in it?” “How would fans afford it?”
Well, Qatar think they have all the answers – except to the last question, because they couldn’t care less about supporters. Unless they’re draped in merchandise, that is.
A biennial summer tournament comprising 16 regular competitors and eight invitees would showcase to the world that Qatar was ready to become a major player on the world football stage.
The fact that investing billions of pounds into their own football infrastructure would almost certainly providing them with a far more long-lasting football impact is lost on these investors.
Backed by the Qatari royal family, they are intent on providing the world with a footballing circus, but there ain’t much sadder than the tears of a clown.
When you consider that last season Manchester City got prize money of £15million for winning the Premier League, and The Times states the DFL [shudder] would offer up to £175million just to take part, you don’t need to be an economist to work out where clubs’ priorities would lie.
Each club would be given an annual budget of £2billion, not forgetting performance-based bonuses.
Each ‘permanent’ team would have its own stadium and training complex, with offices, medical facilities and all the necessary extras.
Participants would receive tax-free salaries three-to-four times higher than their current levels, and would be housed in luxury accommodation built on artificial islands – with these peninsulas given ‘extraterritorial status’ that would exempt players from custom laws, according to Cahiers du football.
The striking thing about this whole proposal is the threat that it poses to FIFA and UEFA.
In some ways it slyly wriggles in with their current agenda, with prize money a legitimate source for revenue under Financial Fair Play guidelines.
But the sums of money involved would undoubtedly make this competition a focus for competing teams, sidelining UEFA’s shining jewel, the Champions League.
Having got into bed with the Qataris, FIFA and UEFA have just found the gun under their pillow, and the route taken in any confrontation could be enormous for the future of the game with outlawing the DFL threatening to create a rebel situation like cricket experienced with Kerry Packer’s World Series in the 1970s.
It may not be a revolution, and it might be a brave new world, but rather than a dream football league it appears to be the nightmare football has been dreading.http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/dream-football-league-qatars-summer-1759818?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter