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Seminar for FIFA Referee Technical & Fitness Instructors that kick started on Monday, will oversee the participation of hundred technical instructors in Doha. The seminar, which is a five day event will conclude this Friday.

The objective of the five day event is to provide a platform for technical instructors around the globe to take part in theoretical and practical sessions to improve their knowledge. It will also prove to be an important event, wherein, the participants will be able to share ideas, experience and expertise in the domain to reach a standardised interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game.

The seminar is aimed at updating the participants with the latest teaching material fitness data and results, for enhancing their knowledge on fitness and technical training and referees’ evaluation.

The opening ceremony at QFA was attended by Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s Chairman of the Referees’ Committee, Hani Ballan, Vice Chairman of FIFA Referees’ Committee, Massimo Busacca, Director of the FIFA Refereeing Department, and Neji Jouini, Executive Director of the Referees Committee.

Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s Chairman of the Referees’ Committee, while addressing the participants at the event, stressed on the importance of working towards the creation and upgradation of future referees by setting an example for the new generation of referees. Further, the aim of the event as communicated was to help new referees develop their skills and take part in advanced workshops through the instructors.

The FIFA oriented seminar is one of the four seminars held in Qatar over the last few weeks, including the forum for the referees and video assistants who will feature in the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer.

The training sessions are being made in the direction of upcoming Russia World Cup and for Women’s World Cup in France. The event is designed to understand the issues a referee face on the pitch in, which the technical instructors are to take up their roles for the referee development for future sport events.

Qatar’s decision to offer Kuwait the Gulf Cup hosting rights is a goodwill gesture. It’s also an execution of sports diplomacy. While Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have been unbending in their resolve to isolate Qatar, Kuwait has steadfastly stood by the tiny, yet defiant Gulf State.
Had the prestigious tournament taken place in Qatar, where it was originally scheduled, nothing would have changed in terms of world opinion. Rather, Qatar would have received positive reception for maintaining its standards when it came to hosting international tournaments. And on the other spectrum, the standoff would have remained and Kuwait would have continued in its quest to find peace in a tinderbox that the region has turned into.

Sports diplomacy has the power to transcend political differences and bring people together, even at the Government level. It can revive hope where there was previously only despair. Qatar, by handing over the 23rd edition of the Gulf Cup to Kuwait, has shown that it is willing to share. Qatar has had the privilege to host multiple global sports events, but it also wants others in the neighbourhood to have equal recognition as sports hub.

Kuwait especially needed this tournament. The Kuwaitis have for long been deprived of opportunities to enjoy watching international football in the country. It has thrice been suspended by FIFA for political interference since 2007. Now, with the tournament set to kick-off on December 22 in the country, there is great anticipation and excitement. There is history attached to it. The first Gulf Cup tournament took place in 1970, and was won by the Kuwaiti team.

Qatar’s decision to forgo the tournament is aimed at leaving an impression on the Arab bloc, but they are likely to remain sceptical, which would be on expected lines. The blockading nations wouldn’t have joined in the tournament had it taken place in Qatar. So all’s well that ends well. The tournament will now see all the participating nations – Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen – come out in full strength and fight for the trophy. FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has expressed gratitude, thanking Qatar for its laudable step and declaring it as a win for football lovers.

With the Gulf crisis as the backdrop, the tournament will be quite fiery, especially when the Saudis and the Emiratis lock horns with Qatar. Although the athletes don’t, and shouldn’t, really care about the political conflict that their respective countries are embroiled in, the Gulf Cup could see tempers flying. Good sense must prevail.


Qatar football players show support for Emir Sheikh Tamim

Qatar’s football federation has been reprimanded and fined by FIFA for getting political at a World Cup qualifying match.

The CHF50,000 (QR188,800) penalty was issued this week, over what happened at a June 13 game against South Korea.

At the time, players and fans had showed support for Qatar’s Emir, shortly after four countries instituted a blockade against the nation.

Qatar Football Association / Twitter

Qatar football players wearing t-shirts bearing the image of Sheikh Tamim

They did this by warming up in shirts that carried the Emir’s face on them.

Also during the game, South Korean fans unfurled a “We Love Qatar” banner and waved Qatar flags to express their support for the country.

Too political

FIFA said Qatar was sanctioned for “displaying a political image” and for “improper conduct among spectators (political displays).”

Player Hasan Khalid Alhaydos was also fined CHF5,000 (QR18,700) for “unsporting behavior.”


Qatar versus South Korea

According to the Associated Press, this was because he took a T-shirt from a fan and lifted it high in the air after scoring a goal.

Qatar has been sanctioned at least two other times during the 2018 qualifiers.

It incurred a QR113,000 fine during a match against Iran in January 2016 for “team misconduct.” And more recently, it got off with a warning in March after a match started late.

Qatar won the South Korea match in June, and now still has a small chance to qualify to play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The national team’s last two matches will be against Syria and China at the end of August and beginning of September.