Qatar has a very strong passion for football, and it's been this way for decades now. With time, the passion has only grown, and Qatar has excelled in the field of football. This can be witnessed in the many football championships it contests within Qatar on a yearly basis and also in the very fact that Qatar will be hosting the 2020 FIFA World Cup.
Read on to learn more about the football championships that are part of the Qatari way of life today:
The Amir Cup is the biggest and the most important football championship to be held in Qatar. It features all the first and second division clubs in Qatar, and was first played in Doha in 1972-73; the championship was won by Al Ahli which is now one of the most popular teams in the Amir Cup squad.
Al Sadd is the most successful team of the Amir Cup having won the championship 16 times since it was established and Al Arabi follows with 8 Amir Cup titles under its belt.
The Amir Cup is played every season by 17 teams from the QNB Stars League (known as Qatar Stars League till the 2017 / 2018 football season when Qatar Stars League [QSL] signed a three-season sponsorship deal with the Qatar National Bank) and the Second Division League in Qatar.
The most popular football championship in Qatar has undergone some changes since the first kick off of this event in the early 1970s. In 1999, it was decided that the Second Division sides would also participate in the Amir Cup along with the top tier teams playing for the Qatar national league title. In 2004, the tournament was planned in such a manner that the event lasted five stages.
For more information on the Amir Cup, click here.
Sheikh Jassim Cup is the opening football championship of the football season every year and is organised by the Qatar Football Association. Since the 2014 / 2015 football season, the championship is contested between the champions of the previous QNB Qatar Stars League season and the title holders of the Amir Cup. So far, Al Sadd has won the Jassim Cup, which originated in 1977, the most number of times: 13.
The Qatar Cup was founded in 1964 with the first tournament being held in the 1994 -95 football season as the Heir Apparent Cup, a mark of respect to the rulers of Qatar. In the 2013 / 2014 football season, The Heir Apparent Cup was rebranded as the Qatar Cup to represent Qatar and its people, and today, it’s the pinnacle of the Qatar Stars League.
Known as one of Qatar’s most prestigious events on the football calendar, the Qatar Cup is played on a knock-out format and involves the top four finishing teams of the regular QNB Qatar Stars League football season.
The Qatar Cup is the traditional end of football season championship involving the top four sides in the QSL and is an important opportunity to lift silverware for the sides of the QSL.
The QSL Cup first kicked off in the 2009 / 2010 football season and was played annually till 2014 after which there was a gap of three seasons. The QSL Cup, organised by the Qatar Stars League Management, was then revived in 2017 / 2018 with Al Gharafa beating Al Rayyan 3-2 in the finals.
It is mandatory for the 12 First Division teams to compete in the QSL Cup. These are Al Sadd, Al Duhail, Al Sailiya, Al Rayyan, Al Ahli, Al Arabi, Al Shahania, Al Gharafa, Umm Salal, Al Khor, Qatar SC and Al Kharaitiyat
First-team players, Under-23 players and Under-19 players can also take part in this football championship. The participation of a player under 23 years of age is not mandatory at the beginning of the match.
QSL Cup is played in a group format and the teams are divided into two groups through a draw. The teams playing the QSL Cup are ranked based on their standings in the previous season’s QNB Stars League. Matches are played in a round-robin format. Three points are awarded for victory, one point for draw and zero point for defeat.
The purpose of this championship is to get young players to play for enough time as possible. This provides their clubs and the Qatar national football team with a wider player pool to choose from, especially when the country is gearing up to compete in international football championships like the AFC Asian Cup.
The Second Division Cup is the second-tier football championship in Qatari football. This football championship was first introduced in the 1996 / 1997 season and is now sponsored by Qatargas.
The Second Division Cup is currently made up of six Qatari football clubs / teams. These are: Muaither Sports Club (SC), Al Markhiya SC, Al Shamal SC, Al Bidda SC, Mesaimeer SC and Al Wakrah SC.
Contested in a triple round-robin format; the above six teams participate in this 15-week long cup with the title winners getting automatically promoted to the QNB Stars League, and the runners up take on the team that finished in 11th place in the QNB Stars League in a play-off match.
Do you know much about football in Qatar? Do you watch the Qatar football cups? Which Qatar team do you support? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
Cover image credit: Welcome Qatar
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