Lalitpur, December 12
The All Nepal Football Association announced Qatar Airways as the title sponsor of the Martyrs Memorial A Division League which is beginning here at the Dasharath Stadium on Saturday.
ANFA President Karma Tsering Sherpa and Country Manager of Qatar Airways Mohamed El Emam announced the deal amidst a programme.
As per the one-year agreement, Qatar Airways will provide the ANFA with $150,000 to conduct the league and will be the title sponsor of the tournament which is regarded as the backbone of Nepali football.
Sherpa said the first-ever sponsorship agreement with multi-national company for the league was possible with the help of Asian Football Confederation and Qatar Football Association.
“In my first meeting with AFC President Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa after I was elected at the ANFA, I had requested him to manage sponsor for the league rather than providing certain amount.
Upon AFC chief’s request, Qatar FA President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Than invited us and we have signed a six-year agreement on various aspects of football. The title sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways is one of them,” said Sherpa.
“This is just the beginning and I am sure this agreement with Qatar Airways will help to take Nepali football to a new height,” added Sherpa. He also urged the government to invest on football, especially league. “The football leagues in other Asian countries are strong as their governments provide the participating clubs with heavy donation. The clubs can survive under such circumstances and the FAs will be able to run leagues even without sponsors and spectators,” he added.
Congratulating the ANFA and football team for the first position in the 13th South Asian Games that concluded on Tuesday, Qatar Airways Country Manager El Emam thanked the ANFA for providing them with the opportunity of sponsoring the league. “It’s a huge opportunity for us to sponsor the league as we believe football can bring people together.
We hope our association will help ANFA bring more success for the country,” said El Emam. “We are also a part of Nepal government’s project in its bid to bring in more tourists during Visit Nepal Year 2020.”
A total of 14 clubs — defending champions Manang Marshyangdi Club, Three Star Club, Jawalakhel Youth Club, Chyasal Youth Club, Friends Club, Brigade Boys Club, Tribhuvan Army Club, Nepal Police Club, Nepal APF Club, Saraswoti Youth Club, Himalayan Sherpa Club, Sankata Club, Machhindra Football Club and New Road Team — will take part in the league.
The bottom team after the round robin tournament will be relegated, unlike the previous edition when the relegation provision was omitted for the first time in the history of league.
Machhindra FC will take on Brigade Boys Club in the opening match on Saturday.
Top three teams after the round robin league will get five million rupees, Rs 3.5 million and Rs 2.5 million, informed ANFA General Secretary Indra Man Tuladhar. Likewise, fourth to sixth placed clubs will get Rs 1.5 million, Rs 700,000 and Rs 500,000 respectively. One club will receive Rs 100,000 along with Fair Play award.
The participating clubs will get two million rupees each as preparation money, while the winning team will receive Rs 50,000 as match money.
Similarly, the best five individuals — striker, midfielder, defender, goalkeeper and coach — will be awarded with Rs 150,000 each, while the man-of-the-match in each game will earn Rs 10,000.
ANFA has set the ticket price at Rs 300 and Rs 200 for VIP and general parapet respectively. “We have a target of raising Rs 10 million from gate collection,” added Tuladhar.
A version of this article appears in print on December 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.