Posted on April 10, 2017

Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) launched the 12th Player Tournament for Football Fan Associations in Doha on Monday, holding a press conference at the Mövenpick Hotel Al Aziziyah to unveil the new competition that will feature 16 teams from local, regional and international fan associations in Doha as well as an appearance from one of Qatar’s greatest football legends, Mansour Muftah.

Mr. Abdullah Aman Al-Khater, Manager of Events at AZF opened the press conference by welcoming media attendees before discussing the details of the tournament that is being held in Qatar for the first time. Al-Khater also announced the tournament’s partners which include Doha Bank as the Golden Partner and Saleh Hamad Al-Mani “Nissan” as the Silver Partner who will be donating a car as part of the tournament’s grand prize draw.

Al-Khater said: “Today we announce the launch of ‘The 12th Player’ tournament that will take place from April 15th to 26th here in Doha. We’re thrilled to add another event to AZF’s community sporting calendar that’s geared towards celebrating local and international football fan associations in recognition of their passion for the sport and one that is in line with AZF’s commitment to drive participation in sports and to promote a healthy lifestyle through a myriad of innovative programs and activities for all members of the local community.” Al-Khater went on to say: “The 12th Player tournament’s title refers to football fans and the tournament is being organized in recognition of the support they provide to their favourite teams either from the stands or behind screens. Now it is their turn to practice their favourite sport and show their passion on the pitch.”

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“On this occasion, I would also like to extend our gratitude to the tournament partners: Doha Bank, the Golden Partner; “Nissan”, as Silver Partner; Oxygen and Oryx, the Bronze Partners; and our Strategic Partner, Qatar Football Association (QFA) whom we collaborate with on various tournaments; as well as Qatar Living, our Community Partner. I would like also to thank the various sports clubs and embassies who have helped engage and encourage the participation of their fan associations in this tournament,” Al-Khater concluded. In parallel with the final day of the tournament, a one-day championship for AZF workers will be organised on the 26th of April where they will be able to enjoy football in a social and entertaining atmosphere.

Commenting on the tournament, Qatari football legend, Mansour Muftah, said: “I am thrilled to be here today and to be part of this tournament and I can’t wait to run out on to the pitch and compete with all these fine players. I have participated in similar GCC tournaments in the past and understand the level of work and organisation that goes into such an event so I applaud the efforts of the organisers of this tournament and would like to thank them as well as the wide range of football fan associations participating who together will make this an amazing tournament.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Muhammad Al-Hamadi, Director of the Tournament, said: “Events like the 12th Player tournament really reflect AZF’s passion towards organising events that benefit the local community and that combine AZF’s social, sports and awareness objectives. Using this tournament we’re also seeking to consolidate relations among fan associations by encouraging them to take part in activities that endorse sportsmanship. We also want to engage fans and promote healthy lifestyles and hope the tournament will encourage them to take part in their favourite sport and not to just watch it. Finally, we want to increase local awareness of the existence of these passionate fan associations and we hope that by getting people involved in community events and the various fan associations across Qatar we can fulfil our objective of promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.”

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Commenting on the launch of the tournament, Dr. Mohamed Al-Saadi, a producer and commentator at Al-Kass channel said: “Qatar’s fan groups are getting bigger and bigger and are now recognised around the world. We have some of the most passionate fans here in Qatar and this tournament is about celebrating them and giving something back. Qatar‘s fan groups will only get bigger the closer we get to the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and so I salute AZF for giving them a platform to be heard five years before the tournament kicks off.” “Only one out of 16 teams will win the tournament but I think everyone taking part will win something and hopefully the tournament will see many people leave having made long lasting friendships.”

Each team will consist of seven players and a goalkeeper in addition to six substitutes, an administrator who can participate and a coach. The tournament will last for nine days and will be played at Aspire Dome’s indoor pitch. Only two teams will qualify from the group stage to the quarter-finals that will be played on April 22nd. The semi-final matches will take place on the 24th of April and the final match will be on the 26th April. Winners of the tournament, including the top three teams, best goalkeeper and best scorer, will receive cash prizes up to QAR 75,000. The final match will be ticketed and there will be a grand prize draw, a car presented by Nissan. Football fans are invited to attend the tournament and cheer on their favourite teams. Only the final match requires fans to obtain tickets. Tickets cost 10 riyals and are available at the Aspire Park entrance to Aspire Academy.

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