Qatar to Host National Rugby League in 2018

Published December 5th, 2017 - 08:34 GMT
International Rugby League Federation logo
International Rugby League Federation logo

All things being equal, rugby fans in Qatar are set to see rugby league national teams of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in actions for the very first time in the country during a competition scheduled for early 2018, Michael Ibrahim, founder and CEO of Aqeeq Holdings LLC has said.

Ibrahim noted that negotiations are in top gear between the sport's governing body International Rugby League Federation (IRLF), the governments of the three islands and his company.

The Australian entrepreneur has been having months of intense discussions with the IRLF and the Pacific Islands National Rugby League conglomerates aimed at playing some of their matches in Doha next year that also involves a Qatar select team.

"We are very close to finalising the deal and I'm happy to say that all indications are pointing to a very strong interests from all concerned parties," he said.

Ibrahim said,"With Qatar's resilience to the current blockade it's important for the country to continue to progress and strive for more greatness. Rugby League is the greatest game in rugby and it is a great privilege staging such as event in Doha."
Aqeeq Holdings operates and deals with many of Qatar's elite corporations including Amwaj Catering Services.

"Amwaj is a very reliant and professional establishment with outstanding quality service. We find them easy to deal with and very proficient," Ibrahim said.

Despite the myrid of Qatar business relations"It is the Emir of Qatar His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani that I admire the most," the magnate said.

"Throughout the blockade, His Highness has continued to exercise absolute restraint. The noble characteristics displayed by the Emir are the distinctive traits Rugby League seeks from its captains, players and clubs. Rugby League is not about winning it's more about how you perform to win," explained Ibrahim.

"The Emir's status quo, however tested, never wavered. In fact, during his address at the UN, his status was further elevated with every spoken word. His maturity, honesty, integrity and pride touched the hearts and souls of not only Qataris but others around the world."

"In the way the Emir was able to reach out to his community and reinvigorate their national pride, Rugby League is on the same par and asks for nothing less than loyalty to your fellow team mates, club or country."

"I was approached by other statesmen from various countries who pledged to prevent Qatar from the ultimate Rugby League experience and promised lucrative profits, however, my relationship with Qatar and the people of Qatar cannot be bought," Ibrahim enforced.

When asked about the facilities of choice for the international rugby league matches Ibrahim said,"Qatar is not short of quality infrastructure and stadiums. It hosted the Asia games in 2006 and it will be entertaining the biggest sports event in the world - FIFA 2022 World Cup."

Ibrahim was the creator of the #Weareallqatar best video and photo campaigns which attracted over fifty thousand entries (50k) worldwide.

"I literally paid over QR1m in prize money for these competitions." Ibrahim quoted.

Ibrahim's passion for Qatar saw him taking up the role of an ambassador for the 'We Support Qatar Movement', garnishing support from world leaders such as the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepe Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, International Rugby League former greats Andrew Johns and Brad Fitler.

The sheer tenacity of the Australian businessman enabled him to do the impossible, he convinced the IRLF to allow four of the participating nations in the recent World Rugby League Cup to bear Qatar's flag with the words"We Stand With Qatar" across the front of their playing jerseys which was viewed by millions around the world.

"I wanted the world to differentiate right from wrong and to take an honest stance as history will judge us. I can't sing and I cant act so I use my sport and business influences to spread good morals and ethics." the tycoon said.

Rugby League is a full contact sport governed by the International Rugby League Federation (RLIF). Though similar to rugby - rugby league has notable rule differences including but not limited to the following; 13 players per team, there are no mauls or lines outs, each team has six tackles to score or advance field position after which the play must be handed over to the opposition, 4pts is awarded for a try not 5pts and the field goal is 1pt not 3pts.

Rugby league is a popular sport in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, France, New Zealand, UK, the Americas, Lebanon, Philippines, UAE, USA, the Cooks Island, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Niue, Tokelau, Solomon Islands and is the national sport of Papua New Guinea. The European Super League and the National Rugby League (NRL) are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European, Australasian and Pacific Island countries.

The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954, and the most recent final was played in Brisbane, Australia December 2, 2017; the current holders are Australia with 10 world cup victories.

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