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Hani Taleb Ballan CEO, Qatar Stars League (QSL)

QATAR - Sports

Hani Taleb Ballan

CEO, Qatar Stars League (QSL)


The CEO of QSL, Hani Taleb Ballan holds a bachelor of mechanical engineering and pre-master’s diploma in project management from the University of Oxford Brooks and Lille University of Science and Technology. He was previously a FIFA referee, vice chairman of FIFA Referees committee, vice chairperson of AFC Referees Committee, and chairman of QFA Referees Committee.

“Having such top-level facilities will help all stakeholders of the football ecosystem in Qatar to achieve great goals.”

Working to develop more professionals in the long run, increase fan engagement, and boost corporate sponsorship, QSL has made great progress in just a few years.

What strategies does QSL use to improve the championship’s technical levels?

Since the beginning, QSL has built its strategy based on four main goals—higher performance, professionalism, fan passion, and corporate leadership—to achieve its purpose of delivering high-quality competitive football entertainment. Our vision was to become one of the top three leagues in Asia, and we have achieved it; however, we want to raise the bar and bring the highest level of professionalism to all levels by implementing the new professional development strategy.

What has been the role played by sponsors and partners on these developments?

Sponsors and partners have a major role to play in our scheme of things. Our tournaments, competitions, and events would not become totally successful without the active participation and support of our various stakeholders. They contribute immensely toward achieving our goals.

How does the Qatar Stars League inspire greater engagement from fans at the national and international levels?

QSL actively promotes fan engagement. We leave no stone unturned in inspiring greater engagement from fans by having specific events, activities and programs, be they at the club, community, national, or international level. All that should come in handy when Qatar hosts the Arab world’s first FIFA World Cup later this year. We interact and engage with fans through innovative ways with an aim of enhancing the fan experience.

The new plan of action will also see the number of teams in QSL being reduced to 10 from the present 12 from 2023-2024 season onward. What are the benefits of this new participation agreement?

The new professional development strategy is based on various pillars—a new broadcasting revenue distribution system, reducing the number of clubs in the Qatar Stars League to 10, a new firm club participation agreement, a central scouting team (CST), and a balanced distribution of Qatari talents. Our goal is to raise the level of professionalism on and off the pitch for all clubs in the first and second divisions. The clubs will have a better distribution of broadcasting revenue and, by introducing the new club participation agreement, they will follow the highest professional governance standards, which will reflect on their management and playing performance.

QSL has constituted a central scouting team. How will this body monitor the club’s recruitment policies and guide with new polices?

The central scouting team will support the clubs in scouting top talents and coaches. The strategy is to understand clubs’ needs and philosophies and provide them with candidates that suit them and add value to the team. The goal is to make Qatar a hub of talent rather than a place to retire. We have had many successful players and coaches who, at the time they came here, were at the beginning of their careers, but made their name here and moved to other countries and achieved great accomplishments. Nevertheless, scouting talented players and coaches will help Qatari players develop in the long run.

Qatar has achieved the highest standards in terms of football facilities. How will this influence the domestic league after the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

Having such top-level facilities will help all stakeholders of the football ecosystem in Qatar to achieve great goals. Clubs will be able to play and train at high-level facilities, commercial partners will benefit from a higher visibility opportunity, and fans will enjoy a great experience at top-level stadiums. The legacy of hosting mega events in the country will benefit our league in the coming years.

What are the league’s main goals before and after the World Cup?

Football stakeholders in the country are prepared in line with the country’s vision to become a global sport capital. As the domestic league, we aim to observe, learn and implement the highest standards in football industry. The World Cup will be an accelerator to achieve our goals. Our new professional development strategy will benefit from the momentum that will be created. 



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