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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Hani optimistic of higher technical level in new season

The QSL Chief Executive Officer hopes improved performances from players and referees so that the fans will also have a better experience.
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Hani Ballan, CEO, QSL. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Hani Ballan, Qatar Stars League (QSL) CEO, was full of optimism as he outlined the prospects of the new season, to be kicked off on Wednesday, August 21.

“In my opinion the new season will be more competitive than the last one as most of the clubs have strengthened their squads through several new signings,” said Hani, in an exclusive chat with Inside Qatar on the sidelines of the season-launching ceremony in Doha on Monday.

“Many new players, most of them with proven track records, have joined various clubs and, I’m sure it’ll enhance the technical level of the league this time,” he added.

Hani also pinned his hopes on the new Molten football which was unveiled during the ceremony.

“The new ball, with its new design, is expected to improve the quality of dribbling and shooting. Equity in the compactness and weight of the ball makes it easy for the players,” said Hani.

“We’ve taken a decision about this particular ball after a lot of research and consultations, even with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It has been specially customised to our needs. This ball was used at the Asian Cup earlier this year and it was proved one of the best,” he added.

Embracing the latest technology, the QSL has also launched a new application for the benefit of fans.

“The new app, developed locally, will keep the fans constantly informed about the league providing all data live, be it goals, match summary or full statistics. I’m sure this will also enhance the fan experience,” said the QSL top official. “We expect the app to create more awareness about the competition and this in turn should improve the attendance.”

Hani was also buoyant about the fact that this time some of the matches would be played at the recently-opened Al Janoub Stadium in Wakrah, one of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“Many new players, most of them with proven track records, have joined various clubs and, I’m sure it’ll enhance the technical level of the league this time”

Hani Ballan, Qatar Stars League (QSL) CEO

“Matches during the first five rounds will be played at the Al Janoub Stadium in Wakrah and Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Al Sadd. Getting a World Cup venue to stage our matches is indeed a big value addition to QSL. It’ll be a great experience for the players and fans,” observed Hani.

The QSL CEO, who is also the Deputy Chairman of FIFA Referees’ Committee, was all praise for the Qatari referees, from whom also he expected a better performance compared to last year, more so with the addition of video assistant referee (VAR).

“I’m proud of our referees. They’ve officiated matches not only at home, but also at the continental and international levels. We will be introducing VAR this season (after a trial in some matches last season) and it should help our referees take accurate and fair decisions,” opined Hani.

He also expressed happiness over QSL’s two Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, associating with Education Above All Foundation, launched by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and the Hamad Medical Corporation’s Tobacco Control Centre which is accredited to the World Health Organisation.