Stage set for much bigger QIA Champions League.
By Sports Reporter/Doha
About 100 footballers from India, many of them national and state level players, will be turning out for Qatar-based Indian expatriate teams in the sixth edition of the QIA Champions League beginning on March 23 in Doha, organisers said yesterday. Twelve teams are taking part in the event which kicks off with a match between 21st Century Care & Cure MAK Qatar and FSC Naseem Al Rabeeh and concludes on May 11. "The Qatar Indian Association is proud to organise the QIA Champions League, the title sponsors of which are City Exchange and RIA-IME, QIA President Abdurrahman E P told journalists at a press conference in Doha yesterday. "This year's tournament will be much bigger than in previous years because we will be welcoming about 100 players from India, thanks to the relaxation in visa rules," Abdurrahman added. Abdurrahman thanked the Qatar Football Association for its support for the tournament. "The QFA has supported us whole-heartedly over the years. Without their help it would be impossible for us to organise a tournament at such a magnitude. The event has become extremely popular among the Indian expatriate community," he said. During the earlier years of the tournament, teams comprised mostly players from the Keralite community in Qatar, but this year will see increased participation from players from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, and Tamil Nadu , QIA General Secretary Safeerurrahman said. Two hundred and sixty four players have registered for the tournament of which about 100 will be flying in from India, he added. Abdulrahman Abdul Jabbar of the QFA's Media and Communications department acknowledged the QIA's efforts to promote football. "On behalf of the Qatar Football Association I would like to express our appreciation to the QIA for organising a tournament of such a high standard. As part of QFA's social responsibility strategy we are providing all possible support to the organisers," Abdul Jabbar said. QIA Chief Patron M S Bukhari said the tournament was an opportunity for Indian expatriates to come together and show their solidarity with Qatar through football. "Qatar is the proud host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. I would ask the Indian community to actively participate in activities promoted by the QIA and the QFA. "I would especially like to ask Indians to show up in large numbers and watch the prestigious HH The Emir's Cup football tournament which is the most prestigious tournament organised by the QFA," Bukhari added. The formal opening ceremony will be on April 6 at Doha Stadium with prominent members of the Indian community and top officials from the QFA, the Supreme Committee and the Qatar Olympic Committee in attendance. QIA also promised a grand closing ceremony, the details of which will be disclosed in due course. QIA patron Habibun Nabi, RIA Financial Services Country Manager Jitendra Pandey and a host of QIA officials and sponsors' representatives were present at the press conference The teams Group A: City Exchange TJSV FC, United Kerala FC, Tamil Nadu FC, Rusiya Adastara FC Group B: Team MBM, Yaas Qatar, Mumbai FC, Maph Trading FC Group C: 21st Century CNC MAK Qatar, CTT Emadi FC, South Indian Soccer Boys, FSC Naseem Al Rabeeh.
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