According to Oliver Kay of The Times, World Cup 2022 host Qatar now looks to become a major power in club football as well with the formation of a new big money competition for the world's best clubs (article is behind a paywall, sadly). While brushing off continued accusations of corruption surrounding its successful World Cup bid and concerns about human rights issues and extreme conditions for summer football, Qatar has apparently been concocting a plan to form a "Dream Football League" that would involve 24 teams, take place every other summer and begin in 2015. It would also attempt to lure the planet's biggest clubs with the promise of ridiculous amounts of money.
From The Mirror:
The DFL would be bankrolled by the Qatari royal family in the hope it would rival or even overtake the Champions League and Club World Cup due to the eye-wateringly high sums involved.
The DFL would involve 16 permanent members with eight other teams invited to take part in each tournament.
The report says top clubs like Barcelona and Manchester United would be offered £175m to turn up - massively dwarfing the £47.3m Chelsea banked for actually winning the Champions League last season.
Since winning its World Cup bid, Qatar has quickly gotten involved with some of Europe's biggest clubs through a variety of avenues like serving as Barcelona's shirt sponsor, inviting the likes of Man United and Milan to train at their state of the art facilities and owning PSG. If this competition becomes a reality (and that remains a big "if"), it would serve as a clear reason as to why Qatar has been establishing those relationships.
Of course, there will be hurdles from FIFA, UEFA and the clubs themselves that have to be dealt with before this can happen. But with clubs so desperate for new and bigger revenue sources (especially in the age of Financial Fair Play), it seems unlikely that anyone is going to turn down such incredible sums of money.
UPDATE: Qatar has denied the story and similarities have been pointed out between The Times' report and a spoof article on a French site. Oliver Kay, however, denies that the spoof article was his source. So it seems we've got a denial stand-off here.
UPDATE II: A man claiming to be one of Kay's sources has come forward to defend the story.
UPDATE III: The Times has now admitted that they were wrong and had been duped into believing a French spoof story was real.