Tag Archives: Qatar

Qatar and Russia World Cup Hosting Rights Update

Ever since Russia and Qatar were granted the rights to host World Cup 2018 and 2022, the world went mad. Now, it is another moment of truth when a new decision might see the light and change the shape of the future.

The Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups might be moved away from one, or both, or none of the nations. The endless speculations and rumors will end soon.

We shall know some real and solid answers post the third-quarter FIFA executive committee meeting on 26 September 2014 in Zurich.

This meeting will review the status and progress in the two hosting countries and will have its recommendations in the shape of affirmative decisions.

No one is excited more than the haters of both countries and more than the English media who has been living off the endless news and rumors about Qatar.

For the records, it is good to remind everyone that Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup ahead of Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands joint bids and England, while Qatar overcame competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to be named as 2022 hosts.

Let us wait and see rather than just listening to rumors and ‘credible’ sources.

Sheikha Moza with the World Cup trophy



Al Jazeera Sport – الجزيرة الرياضية Will Become beIN Sport

It is not official yet, and it is not a big secret too.

Al Jazeera Sport is the biggest network covering Football and other sports in many countries around the world. It is also part of Al Jazeera Media Network which is also an affiliate of Qatari Sports Investments that owns and operates beIN Sport.

Part of the globalization plan of beIN Sport, which already has the exclusive rights for major football competitions in the USA, Indonesia, France, Hong Kong, and Canada, is uniting with Al Jazeera Sport.

The planned transformation of Al Jazeera Sport is not revealed yet, but it was given away in November 2013 and before that too during the network’s campaign for its 10 year anniversary.

Transformation in early 2014: Al Jazeera Sport to become beIN Sport

Transformation in early 2014: Al Jazeera Sport to become beIN Sport

World’s Biggest ‘Vagina’

Qatar’s new Al Wakrah World Cup stadium resembles the female genitalia

Among the World Cup stadiums to be built for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, one specific design might have gone wrong. AECOM Technology Corporation unveiled the design for Qatar’s new Al Wakrah sports stadium, and it immediately fell under criticism for its resemblance to female genitalia.

The design was initially ‘conceived’ as an ancient dhow boat that Qataris traditionally used for pearl diving. The end result fell short of that representation and it has now become the world’s largest vagina.

Here is the photo and below is the video released by AECOM Technology Corporation for you to judge.

The one stadium where a fan can actually be excited saying: I am going in!

The one stadium where a fan can actually be excited saying: I am going in!



p.s If you are offended by the word Vagina,
     blame the biology class at school

Lebanon Lost, Uzbekistan Game is Next

The World Cup Qualifiers for the Asian Zone, Round Four kicked off today. Four games were played, 7 goals scored, 3 wins, and 1 draw concluded day one.

Lebanon was on the losing end of day one after conceding a single goal from Qatar. The game was played in Beirut, Lebanon, in front of a fully packed stadium. A mistake by Lebanese defender Ramez Dyoub saw Sebastian Soria score the only goal of the game in the 64th minute. The match was equally balanced between the two teams with chances wasted at both ends.

Now, Lebanon will face Uzbekistan on June 08, 2012, on the same stadium, before travelling to meet Korea Republic on June 12, 2012, in Goyang.

The Lebanese were left frustrated post the match, but hope is still there. This was the first match of an 8 match series to be played over one year. (Click here for the full details of the games to come and the rules of qualification to the World Cup Finals in Brazil 2014)

Asian Zone Qualifiers - Round Four - Group A Standings - Day 1

Asian Zone Qualifiers – Round Four – Group A Standings – Day 1

Lebanon vs Qatar: Football Revolution

Lebanon is on the road to the World Cup, again, using self-destruction tactics to fail, and inviting extraterrestrial forces to help out fulfill the mission.

How I wish I managed different words to an occasion that might never see its way again to the books of the Lebanese Football before a long time. Yet, the news about banning the fans from entering the stadium on June 03, 2012 for the game against Qatar, led to such a conclusion.

Things never seemed bright for the progress of football in Lebanon, until last year, when a win over South Korea led the way to reaching the fourth and final round of the Asian Zone Qualifiers for the World Cup Finals. However, and since that win, the Lebanese football community was targeted many times with threats and obstacles preventing more progress:

  • First, it was FIFA threatening the football federation about internal hierarchy and structure.
  • Then, it was the Asian Football Confederation threatening to move the match away from Beirut over the condition of the stadium hosting the game.
  • Finally, the news about banning home fans from attending the game, emerged, and led to a huge disgruntle and confusion.

Having said all the above, the game against Qatar will be played on the same stadium with fans attending it, and under the supervision of the same unchanged federation.

Lebanese Players Celebrating the Qualification

Lebanese Players Celebrating the Qualification to the Fourth Round against UAE Earlier This Year

Surprised? Well, this is Lebanon, and this is what the Lebanese spirit is all about. The Lebanese are not the kind of people to mess around with or try such suicidal attempts at. How can you threat the dreams of a nation that survived apocalypse so many times? Think again…

Moving on to the game itself, and what it means footballing wise, it is essential for Lebanon to win over Qatar and grab the full three points at offering. It is true that there are seven more games to follow, but winning this game is a huge boost for the hopes of qualification. A win against Qatar means a virtual lead gained in the group standings before facing a “developed” Uzbekistan side on June 8, for the second game. A win means the dream might start shaping up into a reality.

Lebanon, or “The Cedars Team,” must grab the opportunity of starting the campaign on home ground, because in football notions, playing at home is an advantage. And Lebanon is blessed to be offered two consecutive games at home, before travelling to Korea.

Expect an emotional game, expect many sloppy moments of football display, expect fans’ civilized hostility, but most importantly, expect this:  The result is a true reflection of how the one year campaign will end. I am not worried about the Qatar game, more than I am worried about the fact that the team has to play three games in nine days, while having to fly across the continent too.

lebanon vs qatar

Lebanon vs Qatar: Kick Off at 17:30 GMT (20:30 Beirut Time – 21:30 Dubai Time)

LNFR – Lame Transfers

It is already a week into the transfer window, and I am not impressed. Reports are coming in from everywhere linking the worst with the best and the ugly with the beautiful. It feels like “panic signings” are about to be the trend this January. And while the whole world is anticipating the opening of the Asian Cup – Qatar 2011, the scouts are awaiting its end to grab the better of the tournament. I have no hopes that the next Maradona will be born in Qatar, but some Zidane “wannabes” may be on the verge of fame.

  1. Ronaldinho is searching for a club, in Brazil, when European teams are not listening.
  2. Gabriel Milito is looking for regular playtime. Can he be Chelsea’s own Coloccini?
  3. Mancini is finally offloaded back to Brazil. Even Leonardo couldn’t have faith in him.


    You wish it was the other Mancini leaving, right?

  4. Sepp Blatter is leading the efforts for a World Cup in winter for Qatar 2022. How about a World Cup in winter for Russia 2018, too?
  5. Oguchi Onyewu will leave Milan soon after having attended all the fashion shows in Milan and missed all the games for that.
  6. Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor bust up is good for Mancini. Now the Citizens have a clue of whom to buy.
  7. Ipswich Town sacked Roy Keane. Another twist in the Roy Hodgson dilemma?
  8. Juventus are shopping for a striker after Džeko’s snub and Quagliarella’s severe injury. I heard that Christian Vieri is about to come out and play for Boavista.
  9. Mourinho proved his point: Levante 2-0 Real Madrid. Now give him his striker, and no, Benzema cannot score regularly.

    Inter Dilemma

    Moratti: "Can you make Milito score again, or shall we sell him to Mourinho?"

Who Won the World Cup Bid?

He said: “For 2018 and 2022 we go to new lands, because the FIFA World Cup has never been in Eastern Europe or the Middle East.” He, FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, might now be the most hated personality in England, Holland, Korea, Spain, and other bidding nations, but he wanted to end his reign on a high note somewhere else in the world. He wanted to be remembered as the President who brought the World Cup to Asia, Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, because he believes this is the legacy that will remain amongst whatever he tried to do. He planned his reign to serve Football as he claims, but he will not be the man who spread Football in the world because Football, as he said, started ages ago in China before he was even born.

He is not the subject of the post, but he is who provoked it. He is too powerful that he was the biggest winner when the FIFA Executive Committee chose Russia to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. What did he win? Why did he win? What did other countries lose? What did the hosts win? What is the real win for Football? I might not be the person to answer all of that, and if I wanted to I would need a hundred and ten posts to cover all the aspects, but still I need to share some observations on what happened.

I had my money on England for 2018 and Qatar for 2022 and it was a 50% ego boost by the time the results were announced. I didn’t want to believe that the 2018 bid would be lost by the English the day the BBC Panorama documentary attacked the FIFA officials, but apparently that documentary did some damage. Reports say that England was out of the race from the first round of voting; what a shame. However looking into the facts, and there are few or maybe none, I can fully understand that Abramovich’s presence and money are stronger than Putin and Arshavin is still playing when Beckham is nothing but a Top Model. I may also accept that no one was in favor of having a joint bid like Spain and Portugal’s but I have to admit that the Russians were watching closely and used the same KO pitch of the Qataris and showed the world, in one simple slide, why Russia has to host the Cup. I personally wasn’t impressed with the English presentation.

Moving on to the 2022 incidents, away from all the jokes about the Arab money and the power of oil fields, there was one person who brought the cup to Qatar; Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned. Sheikha Moza captured my whole senses with her speech and presentation. She started off saying: “When, when do you think is the right time for this to come to the Middle East?” and she pointed at the World Cup trophy. She continued saying: “The time has come, the time is NOW.” Powerful words, spellbinding speech, great confidence, and a slide showing the distribution of the World Cup hosting countries away from the Middle East region, have contributed solely, form an objective point of view, in winning the bid. Even the Russians captured that slide and used it in their winning presentation.

Sheikha Moza with the World Cup trophy

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his wife Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned after the announcement

Soon, and maybe just after publishing this post, I will have doubters of what I am feeling and talking about. I know there are many facts that contributed in every nation’s chances, but I will not dig behind all of them. I don’t want to go into politics and say Qatar won so China will be denied the chances of even bidding for the 2026 World Cup. I don’t want to mention that the 1994 World Cup in the USA failed to push the game forward in that part of the world. I cannot say that experimenting in a new Continent was a success story in 2010. I refuse to acknowledge the power of what two nations managed to produce in 2002. I need to believe that 2022 was won because a country will be rebuilt.

Sepp Blatter, you won. There is no one better to acknowledge this fact but Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani, Chairman of Qatar 2022 Bid Committee, when he stated and directly addressed you saying: “Thank you for believing in change. Thank you for believing In expanding the game. Thank you for  giving Qatar a chance. And we will not let you down. And you will be proud of us, you will be proud of the Middle East. And I promise you this.”

Still Early and Not Relevant

Let’s start with the facts, and those would be my point of view, but are still considered facts.

Fact 01:

I never liked Sir Alex Ferguson, and the fact I am calling him “Sir” is merely for recognition. However, Sir Alex stated, and after the loss of the 08-09 Champions League final, that Xavi and Iniesta won the game for Barcelona. When the whole world was celebrating Messi as the greatest of the tournament and the best scorer, Sir Alex’s statement struck me; the Sir knows football.

Fact 02:

I never showed up a lot of interest in friendlies, yet I tend to watch some and learn. When Argentina smashed the current World Champions Spain in a friendly in September 2009, Messi scored the opening goal; to end an arguably poor form under the guidance of the great Diego. The pundits hailed Argentina’s performance and the showing of Messi, before Japan managed a friendly surprise win against the Albicelestes and Spain slumped into another devastating, yet friendly, defeat against a rejuvenated Portugal.

Fact 03:

I distanced myself from watching the Italian league, while I still yearn for the days of Batigol and van Basten. All I have to endure now is seeing Messi scoring 47 goals in one season against the defence lines of Getafe, Santandar, and Osasuna.

I can write a thousand page guide on what is also a fact and what is not of the heavenly game of football. However, I still cannot understand one thing: Why would people consider Messi the greatest ever when all I know is that he plays beautiful football, at moments?

Messi has yet to convince as the greatest ever. I am not talking about winning the World Cup using his hand and solo efforts; I am referring to producing the performances that will win his teams real games. The only thing I saw from Messi so far is a glimpse of hope that he is heading to stardom. He managed the late winner against Brazil in a friendly game. That goal (link here) means one thing: Mess has finally won his team a game, without Xavi and Co.

My take on Argentina – Brazil Friendly

At the announcement of the friendly game, or what they call the “World’s Classico” I started getting calls and questions if I will be there. I felt like I am the head of the FIFA or the most important celebrity to attend the Argentina-Brazil game in Qatar, on November 17, 2010.

I might not even be the most fanatic football fan on the planet, but the questions are just. First, the game is in Qatar, which is a one hour flight from where I stay in Dubai. Second, it is the Eid Holiday. Third, it is Argentina playing, and Argentina is the country that Maradona created and the reason why I watch football. More and more are the reasons justifying my attendance of the game, but I will be watching it on TV.

Once the announcement was made, I directly fast forwarded to December 02, 2010; the date “the FIFA Executive Committee will announce its verdict and award the hosting rights to the two best candidates” to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The game is just another attempt from the committee in Qatar to win the bid; and I hate politics.

I always say, “Never mind the friend-lies,” and this game is just another example. The whole world will be watching, and the whole Arab Region will be blessed to see Messi, Ronaldinho, Alves, and many others, but I don’t care to see them in a friendly competition promoting a World Cup bid.

It will be great to see Qatar winning the bid, and I will be the first to rejoice, because I will definitely be there, when Messi is a 35 year old unused substitute and when Ronaldinho is the superstar of the Al Gharafa.

My boycott may have no sense behind it, but look at it from another perspective; Maradona’s teachings. The money that is paid for the two federations, the publicity surrounding it, the efforts to gain the sympathy of the world, and everything else is not the thing that will make me book a ticket and attend another begging parade to hail the almighty Sepp Blatter.


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