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Qatari FA deny any knowledge of 'Dream Football League'

ESPN staff
March 13, 2013
Majed Naser saves a penalty from Hong Yong Jo © PA Photos

The Qatari Football Association has denied having any knowledge of a 'Dream Football League' that would look to offer major financial incentives to the world's top clubs.

A report in The Times newspaper on Wednesday morning said plans were afoot for a summer tournament that would host 24 teams every two years in an attempt to rival the Champions League and the Club World Cup.

Organisers were said to be prepared to offer in the region of £175 million for elite clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester United to compete.

However, the Qatari FA insists it has no involvement in any such concept.

The statement read: "With regard to the story published in today's edition of The Times newspaper concerning a 'Dream Football League', the Qatar Football Association and other Qatari football entities can categorically confirm that we have no involvement in any such initiative and has heard nothing to suggest such a concept is genuine."

A satirical French website, entitled Les Cahiers du Football, had claimed on its Twitter account on Wednesday that The Times had merely mistaken a spoof story it had published earlier in the week for genuine information.

The tweet read: "We published this on the night of Monday to Tuesday at around one in the morning - all of it came from my imagination."

Journalists from The Times, a respected newspaper in the UK, have said that any such claim has no foundation.

"I've been amused by the speculation about the source of this story," Oliver Kay, who wrote the story for The Times, said. "I can guarantee you 100%, 1,000%, 175,000,000%, that my story had nothing to do with any website, spoof or otherwise.

"I've no idea about their [Les Cahiers du Football's] modus operandi. What I know is that my source is very good, the information is very good and that there is more where that story came from."

Tony Evans, The Times' football editor, added: "As far as we are concerned the story is true and we stand by it.

"Oliver Kay is an exceptionally good journalist who is unlikely to have fallen for a hoax story on a spoof website. He obtained the information after speaking to powerful people in football and after doing his groundwork.

"He has been working on it for quite a while and there is no reason to doubt he will be fully vindicated."

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